02.12.19

Capito Helps Ensure West Virginia Included in National Broadband Initiative

Continues to make progress in closing the digital divide through Capito Connect

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today applauded the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announcement that it is collaborating with eight states to broaden and update the national broadband availability map. The eight states—West Virginia, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah—will contribute data and other inputs to the map. 

“As we work to close the digital divide in rural America and other underserved areas across the country, this is another positive step in the right direction,” said Senator Capito, co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus. “Accurate availability maps are absolutely crucial for informed decision-making, and West Virginia will undoubtedly benefit from being a key player in this process to expand access. I’m glad to see our efforts to deliver NTIA the resources to move forward with important projects like this one are paying off, and I will continue working through my Capito Connect program to make even more progress in better connecting our communities.”  

“In order to ensure that all Americans have access to broadband, we need a more precise picture of the current services and infrastructure that are available,” said David Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator. “NTIA’s work on an updated map, in partnership with these initial states, will help policymakers around the country make better decisions as they devise broadband expansion plans.” 

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 directed NTIA to update the national broadband availability map using its previously developed state partnerships. The initial eight state partners were chosen because they reflect geographic diversity, participate in NTIA’s State Broadband Leaders Network, have active state broadband plans or programs, and were willing to contribute data that can be combined with nationwide data sources to give policymakers a deeper understanding of broadband availability. As then-chair of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Capito helped secure funding in the legislation for this project. 

"We are thrilled that West Virginia has been selected to join NTIA in its Broadband Mapping Program.  Accurate mapping is critical in guiding investment decisions and pushing connectivity into rural areas. We are eager to assist NTIA in the development of broadband maps that more accurately portray connectivity within West Virginia’s communities,” said Rob Hinton, chairman of the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council. 

NTIA expects to seek participation from additional states, territories, and federally recognized tribes that have broadband programs or related data-collection efforts. The initial map will include available nationwide data for every state combined with state-level data from the eight states.

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