05.18.18

Efforts to Expand and Improve Broadband in WV

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - "We all know where you get dropped. We all know where you don't get service, but sometimes it doesn't show up on the map," said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito.

It is a constant frustration in West Virginia, not being able to connect by cell phone or online. Because of that a representative from the FCC was in town Friday, trying to get better input on who does and does not get service.  The FCC is mapping the state, and areas in blue have no service. It's a large percentage of the Mountain State and the problems are common.

"Well on school kids, education connectivity is so important. We see students doing homework in parking lots, at the local McDonald's because they can't  do the homework at home. They don't have the availability," said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia.

The FCC is now taking public input, so it can eventually distribute funds under it's "Mobility Fund II" Program, that will expand broadband in rural areas. Without good communications, companies are reluctant to move here.

"That's what we're fighting. It's tremendous to our economic opportunities and not being able to compete in a global 21st century economy, is hindering all of us in this state and we're going to make sure we cure that," said Sen. Joe Manchin, (D) West Virginia.

The FCC is taking input through August and could award grants in November.

"It's up to four-and-a-half billion dollars, in support for mobile broadband, in ongoing support over 10 years. And so West Virginia has an opportunity to win a significant portion of that funding," said Michael Janson, FCC Rural Broadband Auctions,

Again the maps indicate, West Virginia has a lot of areas with no connectivity. The FCC was here at the invitation of Senators Manchin and Capito.

"The Senators are asking all members of the House of Delegates and State Senate to identify areas in their districts that have little or know broadband service and let the FCC know about it," said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.


By:  Mark Curtis
Source: WOWK