CHARLESTON, WV (WVDN) – Gov. Jim Justice today announced the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) latest update to the National Broadband Map will mean the opportunity for broadband funding for an additional 80,700 unserved and underserved locations in West Virginia.
“West Virginia should be proud of how it pulled the rope together to update this data,” Gov. Justice said. “This update means access to more Federal dollars for West Virginia to build and deploy broadband to those that need it.”
The most recent update to the FCC map expands eligibility to 271,000 unserved locations in West Virginia, an increase of more than 80,700 locations now eligible for broadband funding. This funding will be allocated to states under the Infrastructure and Jobs Investment Act (IIJA) Broadband Access Equity and Deployment (BEAD) Program. The allocation formula is based upon the number of unserved locations by state, and other demographic factors.
“The Department of Economic Development, the Office of Broadband, the Broadband Enhancement Council, community leaders, and West Virginia residents have worked together to ensure that the Governor’s Billion-Dollar Broadband Strategy plan continues moving West Virginia forward,” WV Department of Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael said. “Together, we are working to connect every West Virginian.”
The additional locations were identified through several methods developed and utilized by the West Virginia Office of Broadband. Individual West Virginians were provided tools to report their broadband availability and location information to the FCC. Additionally, the Office of Broadband proactively consulted with broadband carriers and cellular companies to refine location and technology data. Finally, the Office of Broadband conducted onsite field inspections in targeted areas. This incredible effort by the Justice Administration’s Office of Broadband will result in millions of additional federal dollars for the expansion of broadband in West Virginia.
“This is an outstanding result for West Virginia,” Kelly Workman, Director of the Office of Broadband, said. “When given the opportunity to provide broadband data, West Virginia residents stepped up and assisted our office in this effort. Our primary goals are to ensure that all West Virginians are accurately represented on the national broadband map and to obtain all available funding for broadband expansion to unserved areas of West Virginia.”
In late 2021, Gov. Justice’s Billion-Dollar Broadband Strategy was released, representing the largest investment in broadband in the state’s history, with a proposed investment of over $1 billion. This plan combines funding from federal, state, and local governments, along with matching investments from private-sector partners, to accelerate the expansion of high-speed internet to underserved areas of the state, making broadband connectivity available for the first time to 200,000 West Virginia homes and businesses. The National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) is expected to release state funding allocations before July 2023.
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