CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Internet provider Citynet will receive $53.5 million in federal funding to expand internet services in West Virginia.
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday announced the company will get the money over 10 years. The funding will come from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which dedicates funding for providing high-speed fixed broadband services to rural homes and small businesses.
Citynet, which is headquartered in Bridgeport, is the first West Virginia company to receive funding.
“More help is on the way to households without broadband,” FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said. “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.”
U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., applauded the news.
“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,” 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.”
Capito said improving internet access involves seeking every opportunity.
“This funding will be instrumental in helping Citynet assist in broadband deployment, helping us better connect West Virginia. While we can all agree that more granular data is needed—and we are working as we speak to improve these broadband maps—it’s important to seize this opportunity instead of holding off. This will be a gradual process, but it will result in progress toward better-connectivity,” she said.
According to the FCC, there are 121,000 locations in West Virginia initially eligible for the first phase of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund money.