Connecting West Virginia
A recent study by the Federal Communications Commission indicates that 56 percent of West Virginia residents do not have access to broadband services that meet its benchmarks, and as many as 74 percent of West Virginians do not have access in rural areas. Broadband is absolutely critical for developing businesses, improving education and sharing ideas.
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 March 2015, Senator Capito introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). This legislation authorizes $100 million annually over the next five years, including $10 million a year to improve rural broadband services. As the only state that is entirely within the Appalachian region, West Virginia has benefitted from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s development assistance in rural areas.
In May 2015, Senator Capito introduced the Capito Connect plan that outlines three steps for tackling the lack of broadband availability in West Virginia:
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.
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 Fostering collaboration will help eliminate duplicate and outdated programs so that West Virginia can efficiently deliver broadband services to communities.
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.