Broadband is absolutely critical for developing businesses, improving education, and sharing ideas, which is why one of Senator Capito’s earliest and top priorities continues to be better connecting the state of West Virginia.
Senator Capito believes it is imperative to bring new and innovative opportunities to West Virginia. In the ever-evolving global economy, our ability to compete depends on our capacity to adapt. Senator Capito is committed to bringing high-speed broadband to West Virginia and ensuring that West Virginia has the necessary tools to succeed.
In May 2015, Senator Capito introduced her Capito Connect plan—one of her first initiatives as a United States Senator— a roadmap for bringing affordable, high-speed internet access to homes, businesses, and classrooms in West Virginia. The Capito Connect plan outlines three steps for achieving this goal:
(1) UNDERSTANDING THE BENEFITS OF A CONNECTED WEST VIRGINIA
By listening to our communities, we can build a West Virginia-specific plan for achieving widespread broadband that meets the unique demands of our state.
(2) FOSTERING COLLABORATION BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR
Broadband access will be the result of partnerships between private, local, state, and federal agencies and organizations. Fostering collaboration will help eliminate duplicate and outdated programs so that West Virginia can efficiently deliver broadband services to communities.
(3) PROMOTING ECONOMIC GROWTH THROUGH INNOVATION
Broadband should be easily available and affordable for all West Virginians. This will require creative solutions to accommodate broadband users across all sectors, including schools, businesses, and private citizens. Through innovative thinking and implementation, West Virginia will achieve the connectivity that will help boost our economy.
Through Senator Capito’s Capito Connect plan, she’s made significant headway in all of these areas—particularly when it comes to Rural America—by focusing on two main strategies.
The first is making West Virginians aware of the many opportunities and resources available to better connect their communities. The second is by securing additional resources at the federal level to support broadband deployment and improvement programs. By connecting those in need with available resources and expanding the opportunities available, we are making a difference.
In 2022, following the signing into law of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which will provide hundreds of millions of dollars for broadband deployment in West Virginia, Senator Capito launched a "Share Your Stories" initiative to empower West Virginians to detail their experiences with internet access in their communities.
More than a thousand residents have written in so far, and Senator Capito continues to hear from West Virginians to ensure funding is going to the places that need it most.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Senator Capito continues to be a leader in raising awareness, creating dialogue, securing funding, and developing new and innovative solutions to address West Virginia’s connectivity needs.
In June 2023, Senator Capito secured $1,210,800,969.85 in funding through the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program to deploy high-speed internet networks across West Virginia. The BEAD program, and the funding for it, was made available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act(IIJA). Senator Capito has worked diligentlyto not only advocate for the creation of this program in the IIJA, but also to ensure accurate mapping data. Specifically, she has raised concerns with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) about the past inaccuracies in their broadband maps, given broadband funding through the IIJA is directly tied to these maps.
A timeline of Senator Capito’s efforts to ensure accurate broadband mapping data and secure this funding can be found here.