Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, along with Senator Joe Manchin and Congressman Nick Rahall, today announced a multi-million dollar federal award that will support expansion of broadband infrastructure and high-speed Internet access to at least 40,000 rural homes and businesses in West Virginia.
The allocation of $24,106,003 follows a call from Rockefeller, and several of his colleagues, who urged the FCC in March 2013 to continue releasing resources from the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Connect America Fund so as to prevent a break in the construction of broadband infrastructure in areas that presently lack high-speed Internet service. The Connect America Fund was launched in 2012 to provide access to broadband service to tens of millions of Americans who have been without broadband service.
"The FCC is an important partner in the effort to bring broadband infrastructure and high-speed Internet to our rural communities. This funding award shows that the agency not only heard our concerns, but they understand that advancing next-generation Internet technology in rural areas, including those in West Virginia, cannot be done without them," said Rockefeller, who has long made it a top priority to bring the transformative power of broadband and Internet access to all parts of West Virginia. "With help from the FCC, so many more of our families and businesses will soon have the transformative and necessary power of high-speed Internet at their fingertips, opening the doors to many new educational and economic opportunities."
"Investing in ways to improve Internet access and broadband services will help West Virginia businesses become more competitive, advance economic opportunities and expand the scope of information available to West Virginians across our great state," Manchin said. "High-speed Internet will also encourage new educational opportunities for our kids and our future generations, and I am pleased that the partnership between the FCC and our state will specifically focus on expanding broadband to some of the areas around our state that have the most limited access in our rural communities."
"For the whole of America to keep a competitive pace in the world marketplace, investments like the FCC's major commitment to families and businesses are essential," said Rahall. "Whether advancing learning, expanding small business markets, researching and developing new products or services, today, broadband access is a basic economic necessity. Leveling the playing field for rural America to compete in the e-economy remains an essential federal role and responsibility."