CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Today, U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $728,065 from the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for the development of a statewide digital equity plan in West Virginia. The funding was made possible by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and will be used to engage local communities and develop projects to promote the full participation of all West Virginians in today’s digital economy.
“Bringing high speed, reliable broadband access to our homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses in West Virginia has always been a top priority, which is why I strongly advocated for broadband provisions in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This funding will assist in our efforts to provide communities with the resources they need to strategize and develop a plan to connect our residents to the digital economy. The future of West Virginia depends on our ability to close the digital divide, and this funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law will help in this effort,” Senator Capito said.
“Access to affordable, reliable broadband is vital to the success and growth of our communities across West Virginia,” Senator Manchin said. “That’s why I helped author the $65 billion broadband section in our bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to provide historic broadband funding to expand access for all West Virginians. Getting online isn’t just about connecting every house. It’s also important to help elderly citizens access telehealth appointments, assist small business owners setting up an online presence and provide additional tools so that all West Virginians can succeed with high-speed Internet. I am pleased NTIA is investing more than $728K to close the digital gap in West Virginia, and I will continue working with federal, state and local officials to ensure everyone has broadband access in the Mountain State.”
The funding announced today will utilize community outreach, stakeholder engagement and data collection and analysis to design a statewide plan to expand broadband access to unserved and underserved populations across West Virginia. Upon completion of the State Digital Equity Plan, West Virginia will be eligible to receive additional funds through the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program to carry out its planned activities to boost digital equity and inclusion.
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