Virginia REALTORS® partners with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) on an array of housing issues. With the pandemic proving that the need for broadband is more crucial now than ever, Virginia REALTORS® wants to ensure that our members are aware of broadband access and expansion projects in their communities. After all, knowing which homes have broadband that your clients are interested in buying or selling will help you better advise them. Also, if you were not aware that you could research and provide that information, now you know that you can!
The Commonwealth Connection: Virginia’s Broadband Availability Map
DHCD has many initiatives focused on broadband and increasing service to the many areas of the state without coverage. Commonwealth Connect is the state’s comprehensive effort to achieve universal broadband access. This goal will be accomplished through four pathways, including increasing state grants to public-private partnerships that are building broadband in underserved communities, legislative and policy changes, better support and resources for local programming, and convening broadband stakeholders.
The Commonwealth Connection is the broadband availability map and analysis tool. It is very user friendly and sheds light on which areas of the state have access to this critical infrastructure.
How Does the Map Work? What are Its Features?
In its simplest form, you can type in an address in the search bar and see if the property has broadband (see below using Virginia REALTORS®’ office as an example).
Some other key features include:
- Seeing what service providers are located in your area and their internet speeds.
- Learning about current broadband expansion projects.
- Testing how fast your current internet speed is.
- Discovering public Wi-Fi locations across the state (REALTORS® can be on the go and find Wi-Fi anywhere!).
Coverage data displayed on Commonwealth Connection can be cross checked with coverage data displayed on the Federal Communications Commission National Broadband Map, which shows broadband availability by internet service providers at the individual location level.
As REALTORS®, you all are leaders in your communities. When it comes to building stronger infrastructure—especially as it relates to homeownership and access to quality housing—you are often at the advocacy forefront. One of the post-pandemic effects is that many jobs are remote, and broadband connectivity offers the potential for attracting and retaining jobs. This directly intersects with housing, particularly the need for increased inventory.
For specific questions on the broadband availability map or any of the commonwealth’s broadband initiatives, contact email@example.com.