CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Nearly 120,000 locations across West Virginia will receive expanded broadband over the next decade following a broadband auction.
U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) both announced $362,066,660 from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction
“Today’s announcement is great news for West Virginia,” Manchin said in a release Monday. “This first phase of funding will help our state deploy broadband access to nearly 120,000 locations across the Mountain State, bringing Internet access to West Virginians in rural and mountainous regions of the state. I am pleased that my efforts to ensure rural states like West Virginia get a piece of the pie have been successful in securing $362 million for our state.”
Capito, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, applauded the action. A release said nine providers were successful and won funding for over $362 million. A total of 180 bidders across the nation won auction support, which will be distributed over the next 10 years.
“I hope naysayers will take notice that not only are smaller West Virginia providers eligible and competing in these federal auctions, but they are also winning,” Capito said.
“While this is just a step in the process and this is not yet the end, this news demonstrates another step forward in our goal to better connect West Virginia at a time when connectivity is more important than ever. As the FCC moves forward with the next steps in the RDOF program, I will be working diligently to ensure that companies that bid in West Virginia have the capacity to carry out their promises of providing gigabit level service to West Virginia residents. The FCC has been a tremendous partner in supporting my Capito Connect initiative, and programs like RDOF that specifically focus on rural America are critical in our fight to establish affordable, reliable broadband in West Virginia.”
Manchin further said, “This funding will connect unserved areas across the state, helping students complete their schoolwork, ensuring our small businesses can compete nationally and globally, and providing seniors and Veterans with access to telehealth services. While this is great news, we still have more to do to help all West Virginians get reliable, affordable broadband access. We must work to hold the nine providers who won bids accountable for the contractual promises they are making, especially those who have had a mixed record of success in West Virginia. We must guarantee that future federal funding is distributed using updated broadband coverage maps to ensure that areas in West Virginia that were excluded from this round get their fair share in the next auction.”