CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $19.7 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to expand broadband services in West Virginia. The funding will support Logan and Mingo counties’ Fiber to the Premises project, which enables last-mile broadband access and will serve more than 12,000 West Virginian households.
“This is great news for West Virginia, and specifically for people in Mingo and Logan counties who continue to struggle with unreliable internet access.” Senator Capito said. “I have long advocated for this fiber project through several conversations with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, as well as during conversations last week with GigaBeam Network CEO Michael Clemons and officials from Logan and Mingo counties. Since the launch of my Capito Connect ‘Share Your Stories’ initiative, I’ve received countless messages from West Virginians in Mingo and Logan counties about broadband deficiencies they are facing. I heard from Deanna in Chapmanville who says her internet is often unusable and hurting her children’s education, and Ethan in Dingess who feels that his area has been forgotten. We cannot afford to leave any West Virginians behind in our goal to connect every house, business, school, and hospital with high-speed internet access. The project announced today will connect nearly 13,000 houses with broadband fiber, giving a major boost to an area of our state that desperately needs it.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of reliable, affordable broadband access for all West Virginians and Americans. We know that at least 258,000 West Virginians have no broadband access, and we think that number is likely much higher,” Senator Manchin said. “That’s why I fought to include significant funding for broadband in every major piece of legislation we have passed in the last two years, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, American Rescue Plan, and the 2020 year-end package, which funded this particular program. This announcement is great news for Logan and Mingo counties and will help expand broadband access to every West Virginian, no matter where they live. Rural states like West Virginia should receive their fair share of funds as we continue to work on broadband deployment, and I will continue working with federal agencies, state officials and communities to bring broadband coverage to every holler in the Mountain State.”
“Region 2 is honored and privileged to be part of this groundbreaking initiative. Access to high-speed broadband is essential to the economic resiliency and sustainability of southern West Virginia. This landmark project is made possible by the strong support of our Congressional delegation, as well as the partnerships and collaboration between the local public and private sectors,” Chris Chiles, Executive Director of the Region 2 Planning & Development Council said.
“GigaBeam Networks is excited and honored to be a partner in this unique project to solve the digital divide in both Logan and Mingo Counties. This grant funding provided by the Department of Commerce’s NTIA will assure availability to the unserved families and businesses of reliable and affordable internet service with superior speed and performance. This project wouldn’t be a reality without the efforts our private partners and the work of our local, state and federal leaders,” Michael Clemons, CEO of GigaBeam Networks said.
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