U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) on Monday announced the fourth federal ReConnect grant award for West Virginia in the last year, the most recent outcome of her continuous work to advance high-speed internet access throughout her home state.
“This is a major step forward in our efforts to better connect West Virginia,” the senator said on Oct. 19. “It also demonstrates how the collaboration of local, state and federal partners can lead to results that help West Virginia homes and businesses in need.”
Sen. Capito also said that access and affordability of rural broadband remains a priority for her and she thanked the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Trump administration for prioritizing the issue.
The more than $7.6 million broadband investment award is being made through the USDA’s ReConnect program and was awarded to Bridgeport, W.Va.-based integrated communications provider Citynet, which will build out broadband infrastructure to provide service over a 205-mile fiber network to residents in Barbour, Doddridge, and Randolph counties in West Virginia. The senator said she had advocated for the approval of Citynet’s application earlier this year.
The project will benefit approximately 6,054 people, 58 farms, 41 businesses, three fire stations, two schools, and two post offices, according to information provided by Sen. Capito’s office.
“Whether it’s broadband or highways, infrastructure is vital to the well-being of West Virginians and the communities within which they live,” said Sen. Capito, a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee.
The senator said she helped create the ReConnect program within the appropriations process because she saw the need to close the digital divide in rural America. “I’ve continued to support ReConnect enthusiastically because USDA uniquely understands the difficulties associated with implementing broadband in rural areas and is better equipped to tackle those issues head-on,” Sen. Capito said.
Sen. Capito was joined during the announcement by USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Jim Hubbard and USDA West Virginia State Director Kris Warner, among others.