West Virginia Broadband: Two New Projects
March 14, 2022
BEAD: $1.2 B
Treasury Capital Projects Fund: $136.3 M
In October 2021, Governor Jim Justice announced “a billion-dollar strategy to bring broadband availability to 200,000 more West Virginia homes and businesses [which] will add a $236 million state broadband program to $362 million in Federal Communications Commission funding and $120 million from other state and federal sources”.
Also in October, the West Virginia Development Office (WVDO), Office of Broadband and the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council unveiled its GigReady Incentive Program and Line Extension Advancement and Development (LEAD) Program Target Area Maps. The program aim to create broadband targeting maps.
West Virginia's GigReady Incentive program comes from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. This document outlines the high level parameters of the program.
Applications from counties and municipalities to participate in the program will be accepted starting October 28, 2021 through January 31, 2022. Applications must be submitted to the Department by January 31, 2022, at 3:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.
Note that in addition to the $40 million available through this program, local governments also have access to $500 million from the ARPA Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, and many of them intend to use that money to build or expand broadband networks.
The Wireless Infrastructure Association notes that West Virginia is also in the process of implementing a broadband grant program directed towards Wireless Internet Networks (WIN.) The state intends to use $10 million in state general revenue funds to do this.
The main piece of legislation establishing West Virginia's broadband incentive programs is HB 3302.
West Virginia's broadband investment page offers useful links to program procedures, online grant applications, ZoomGrants tutorials and Webinar presentations for its various programs. _Other Broadband programs: _ WV KidsConnect Initiative: WV KidsConnect is designed to support the learning needs of children who do not have access to the Internet at their home. By installing necessary equipment, all public schools, higher education institutions, county libraries and state parks will be turned into WiFi hotspots. The WiFi hotspot location map can be found here.
State Broadband Plan: The West Virginia State Broadband Plan 2020-2025 outlines specific goals and strategies related to the expansion of broadband in West Virginia.
March 14, 2022
March 10, 2022