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Huntington first up for faster Internet study

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Huntington has been selected to be the first city involved in the West Virginia Broadband Deployment Council’s “Gigabit City” project aimed at bringing faster Internet speeds to municipalities in the state.

A feasibility study, which comes with no costs to the city due to grant funding, will assume a 10-year business case that will include all aspects of deploying and maintaining an advanced gigabit-speed broadband network across the Huntington, Mayor Steve Williams said.

That would mean a new fiber infrastructure throughout the city, yielding much faster Internet speeds than currently possible. The study will create a model that will help determine the costs, potential profitability and viability of the network.

This study only determines feasibility, and does not guarantee any implementation.

“We’ve all been disappointed with our current broadband provider — the speed isn’t what we need it to be,” Williams said. “We’ve lost businesses in the area who have needed much faster broadband capacity. They were able to move to other cities at a fraction of the cost.”

Williams said now is an opportune time for Huntington be a part of this project, as the city is ramping up its efforts to attract new business to a city he says has a lot of offer. He also mentioned the rise of home-grown businesses that he would like to have access to the best technology possible.

Depending on the study’s results, the information can be used not only to move forward with a fiber deployment but also to influence policy for economic development in Huntington, said Tony Simental, West Virginia Broadband Mapping and Planning Program coordinator.

“The main idea is for the study to help Huntington secure funding for (fiber deployment),” Simental said…

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