Secretary Carmichael touts expansion as ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’
By Steven Allen Adams, The Weirton Daily Times
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Thanks to Congress and President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, federal funding is helping West Virginians gain access to high-speed broadband and computers, with more projects kicking off later this month.
Mitch Carmichael, the secretary of the Department of Economic Development, briefed the joint Committee on Government and Finance on Tuesday morning about the state’s plans for broadband expansion funding through the American Rescue Plan.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity really for broadband expansion in West Virginia,” Carmichael said.
West Virginia will receive $138 million for broadband expansion through ARP funding. The state can also use part of the $1.355 billion its receiving through the American Rescue Plan for infrastructure projects, such as broadband expansion. Counties and cities are receiving a combined $679 million through the Biden plan that can also be used for broadband projects. Carmichael said the state plans to use its ARP funds to focus exclusively on getting last-mile broadband service — direct connections to homes — to unserved parts of the state with at least 25 Mbps download speeds and 3 Mbps uploads speeds based on FCC definitions for high-speed broadband. The Office of Broadband wants to focus on parts of the state that are not already funded through federal and state programs…