High-speed internet is slowly reaching communities on the Bedford County side of the lake as Comcast continues its effort to connect nearly 7,000 homes.

The project was made possible by a $3.5-million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to Bedford County and Comcast to provide high-speed internet to unserved and underserved areas of the county. Comcast is contributing nearly $6 million to the project as well.

“In rural areas, like Smith Mountain Lake, where there can be significant infrastructure challenges, grants such as the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission’s ‘Last Mile Broadband Program’ help change the economics so that private providers, like Comcast, are able to expand networks in the most cost-efficient manner,” said Sandra Arnette, senior manager of public relations for Comcast.

Work began last June to build and upgrade 282 miles of lines in Hardy, Goodview and Huddleston. The new service will provide up to 1 gigabit per second in download speeds, as well as access to other Comcast services such as Xfinity Home, Xfinity Voice and Xfinity Mobile.

Work is expected to continue into next year as Comcast continues to expand service to more remote areas of the lake.

“Presently, we have completed work in parts of the Hardy, Stewartsville and Vinton areas, including a small portion of Goodview, as well as the eastern section of Huddleston — Deer Trail Drive from Smith Mountain Lake Parkway to Mariners Landing,” Arnette said. “We are continuing our expansion efforts around the north section of Huddleston — Smith Mountain Lake Parkway from White House Road to Deer Trail Drive. Comcast anticipates completing the project well ahead of the project deadline.”

Comcast is one of two internet companies working with Bedford County to provide high-speed internet to lake communities. Blue Ridge Towers and its subsidiary, BRISCNET LLC, is constructing wireless internet towers in Hardy, Huddleston and Moneta, as well as other locations around the county. The project was also made possible through a $670,500 grant from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and a $1.04 million grant from the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative grant.

Arnette said Comcast’s scheduled completion date for the project is summer of 2021.