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ABINGDON, Va. — Comcast is launching an internet service that will deliver speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second to residential and business customers in its Southwest Virginia markets.

About two years ago, the RTD Commentary section ran a series about the challenges facing rural Virginia, based on a book by local author and semi-retired lobbyist August Wallmeyer. “The Extremes of Virginia: Two Separated and Unequal Commonwealths” sounded an early alarm about two vastly different Virginias and helped stimulate discussion about long-term, systemic changes to benefit Virginia’s rural areas.