The push for better broadband in West Virginia continued Monday as Gov. Jim Justice announced another $20.8 million in grant funding for major projects across the state.
This round of grants will provide connectivity to over 5,800 homes and businesses. It begins a series of six massive broadband infrastructure projects across the state through the Major Broadband Project Strategies (MBPS) program.
The MBPS program is a branch of the governor’s Billion-Dollar Broadband Strategy — a plan to invest over $1 billion in state and federal funds to make broadband connectivity available for the first time to 200,000 West Virginia homes and businesses.
Monday’s announcement marks the first round of grants awarded through the program. The approved projects will result in more than 628 miles of new fiber infrastructure, providing broadband connectivity to 5,849 homes and businesses in West Virginia.
“This will help people who need high-speed internet to work remotely and help students be able to do their homework, give our seniors better access to telehealth options, allow businesses to reach more customers than ever,” Justice said. “The possibilities go on and on and West Virginians everywhere deserve this critical access. I applaud all the hard work that went into making this announcement possible.”
The state’s total investment of $20,845,157 will leverage an additional $13,279,926 from other funding sources, for a total broadband infrastructure investment of $34,125,083 for this round alone.
This marks the third time this year Justice has announced a round of major broadband projects through his Billion-Dollar Broadband Strategy. Today’s round joins two previous rounds of Line Extension Advancement and Development (LEAD) projects.
Factoring in all funding sources combined, a grand total investment of over $61.2 million has been committed to undertake 16 major broadband infrastructure projects throughout West Virginia. These projects will result in over 1,000 miles of new fiber infrastructure, providing high-speed broadband access to over 11,000 new homes and businesses.
Projects announced Monday include those received under the MBPS program’s first application round, which closed Feb. 19. Additional approvals will be announced soon.
Broadband projects receiving MBPS program funds include Citynet LLC for Thornton, Gladesville and Morgantown South. MBPS program funds total : $2,200,635, with matching funds of $733,545; for a total project cost of $2,934,180. The estimated fiber mileage is 86 with 376 targeted addresses being improved. These will be in Marion, Monongalia, Preston and Taylor counties.
- Comcast Cable Communications LLC — Northern Panhandle Broadband Expansion. MBPS program funds: $14,726,012. Matching funds: $6,265,607. Total project cost: $20,991,619. Estimated fiber mileage: 304. Targeted addresses: 1,402
- DQE Communications LLC — Greater Hepzibah Area FTTH. MBPS program funds: $1,088,278. Matching funds: $373,000. Total project cost: $1,461,278. Estimated fiber mileage: 15. Targeted addresses: 650.
- Shenandoah Cable Television LLC — Lewis County Broadband Project. MBPS program funds: $1,119,113. Matching funds: $466,500. Total project cost: $1,585,613. Estimated fiber mileage: 27. Targeted addresses: 457
- Frontier Communications Corp. — West Mason. MBPS program funds: $1,039,734. Matching funds : $3,447,586. Total project cost: $4,487,320. Estimated fiber mileage: 113. Targeted addresses: 1,398
- Frontier Communications Corp. — Boone County Broadband Expansion. MBPS program funds: $671,385. Matching funds : $1,993,688. Total project cost: $2,665,073 . Estimated fiber mileage: 83. Targeted addresses: 1,566