Capito Continues Push for Better Broadband Internet in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito is still pushing to reach more areas of the Mountain State more areas of the state with broadband internet access.

Capito says she’s sick of the excuses from service providers.

“I get tired of the ‘oh, it just takes more time and more money.’ I get tired of that. This is a solvable problem and it’s one that’s essential for us to change,” she said last week on MetroNews “Talkline.” “To transition, to grow, to keep young people; to keep our tourist industry going; to keep electronic health records up to date. It has so many tentacles.”

Capito said the issue is leaving West Virginia and other rural states in the dark, and many people aren’t aware of the problem.

“Some places, you have to work on convincing people that this is the way it is. It’s creating this digital divide, and I’m going to keep talking about it and putting pressure on the providers to do better.”

She pointed out that providers wouldn’t necessarily have to foot the bill entirely for providing more reliable service, since customers pay for it in part in their monthly rates.

“Connect America Fund that we all on our phone bills pay. That money’s going out in our state to Frontier, I think it’s $38 million a year, to go to underserved and unserved (areas),” Capito said. “It’s not like the companies have to do this all on private dollars. There’s a lot of funding from our own federal tax dollars that are making this happen.”

A bill to build a fiber optic infrastructure network that would increase broadband access passed the Senate overwhelmingly during last session, but died in the House of Delegates.

West Virginia is ranked 48th in the United States in terms of broadband access.

By:  Matt Maccaro
Source: Metro News