By Steven Allen Adams, The Intelligencer
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia is ready to go on broadband expansion projects as soon as the federal government releases American Rescue Plan funds, while the Federal Communications Commission announced that Bridgeport-based Citynet will receive support for its rural broadband plans.
West Virginia lawmakers received an update on broadband projects Sunday during the first day of October legislative interim meetings one day before the start of a special session for congressional and statehouse redistricting and other items.
The Joint Committee on Technology heard testimony Sunday afternoon from Mitch Carmichael, cabinet secretary for the Department of Economic Development.
Carmichael said there is more than $478 million in mostly federal funds allocated to the state for broadband expansion, including $136 million specifically allocated to West Virginia through the American Rescue Plan Act. The $136 million doesn’t count the $1.36 billion for the state and $678 million for cities and counties that can also be used for broadband infrastructure thanks to ARPA.
“We would really like to get started on these programs. We do not have money yet to do that,” Carmichael said. “There’s been, at this point, no money allocated yet for broadband expansions. We’re very anxious to get started…We’re ready, willing, and able to go when you say go.” …