U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that West Virginia broadband service provider Citynet will receive $53,513,114 over the next decade from the first round of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) to expand broadband access across West Virginia. According to BroadbandNow, the FCC has overestimated broadband coverage in West Virginia more than any other state in the nation.
“Affordable, reliable broadband access is vital to the success and growth of our communities across West Virginia, and the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of broadband for our everyday lives,” Senator Manchin said. “I am pleased West Virginia provider Citynet will receive $53.5 million to expand access in West Virginia, but there is still work to be done. The broadband coverage maps used to distribute RDOF funds are still incorrect, and over 2,400 West Virginians have proven it through speed tests submitted to the FCC. That’s why I successfully fought to tie broadband funding in the bipartisan infrastructure bill to updated maps to ensure that every West Virginian can get the quality broadband access we all need and deserve.”
“More help is on the way to households without broadband,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “This is an important program for getting more Americans connected to high-speed internet, and we are continuing careful oversight of this process to ensure that providers meet their obligations to deploy in areas that need it.”
Senator Manchin’s recent work to update the incorrect broadband maps:
In August 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which includes $65 billion for broadband deployment, access, and affordability. Specifically, it includes $42.45 billion in grants to states based on a formula from Senator Manchin’s Eliminate the Digital Divide Act, which provides funds to states through their proportion of unserved areas. Funding is tied to the updated FCC maps. The bipartisan infrastructure bill also includes provisions to speed up the FCC’s implementation of the Broadband DATA Act and make it more accessible to consumers and inclusive to communities.
In June 2021, Senator Manchin submitted another group of speed tests from West Virginians to the FCC to assist in efforts to quickly update the broadband coverage maps. Over 2,400 West Virginians have submitted speed tests to Senator Manchin.
In April 2021, Senator Manchin led 17 Senators in calling on the FCC to ensure that state, local and tribal governments are included in efforts to update nationwide broadband maps.
In February 2021, Senator Manchin applauded the FCC’s announcement of the establishment of a task force to fix the incorrect maps.
In October 2020, Senator Manchin submitted over 2,000 broadband speed tests from West Virginians to the FCC to prove the FCC’s broadband coverage maps are incorrect and must be fixed.
In March 2020, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Act (Broadband DATA Act). This bill will help to fix the country’s faulty broadband coverage maps and contains several key provisions that came directly from Senator Manchin’s efforts as well as his bill, the Map Improvement Act of 2019.
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