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U.S. Sen. Capito congratulates West Virginia on being second state approved for broadband funding

Approval brings West Virginia a step closer to deploying the largest amount of broadband funding for the state to date

West Virginia Press Association

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – On April 25, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of both the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Appropriations Committees, and Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the below statement regarding the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) approval of the state’s Volume II Initial Proposal for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.

West Virginia is now the second state in the nation to be approved and will soon begin receiving its $1,210,800,969.85 in funding through the BEAD program to deploy high-speed internet networks. The funding, which was originally announced by Senator Capito in June 2023, was made possible through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that Senator Capito helped craft.

“I am thrilled that West Virginia is the second state in the nation to have our BEAD plan approved by the Department of Commerce,” Senator Capito said. “This means West Virginia is another step closer to using our $1.2 billion towards efforts to better-connect homes, business, and classrooms across the state. It’s no surprise to me that West Virginia came out ahead of so many other states that have more personnel because it’s hard to compete with the dedication of Governor Justice’s team. I thank them for their tireless work on their plans to make sure these funds are able to be used properly and efficiently. While there is still a long road ahead to getting more West Virginians connected, we are well on our way with today’s announcement. I look forward to continuing to help our state in any way that I can during this multi-year process.”

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND ON THE FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENT:

The BEAD program, and the funding for it, was made available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Additionally, Senator Capito has worked diligently to advocate for the creation of this program in the IIJA, while also ensuring accurate mapping data. Specifically, she has raised concerns with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) about the past inaccuracies in their broadband maps, given broadband funding through the IIJA is directly tied to these maps.

Following the announcement of the funds, Senator Capito penned an op-ed on that appeared in outlets across West Virginia to highlight the importance of the funding. Click here to read the full op-ed.

In July 2023, Senator Capito hosted Assistant Secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Alan Davidson, a key U.S. broadband official, in Charleston, W.Va. During Assistant Secretary Davidson’s visit, he and Senator Capito hosted several events with leaders and stakeholders in West Virginia to discuss the state’s connectivity needs and the best ways to deploy the BEAD funding across West Virginia. To learn more about the visit, click here.

BACKGROUND ON CAPITO EFFORTS TO ENSURE ACCURATE BROADBAND MAPPING:

Senator Capito has led efforts in ensuring West Virginia’s broadband maps are as accurate as possible so funding can be directed to the areas that need it most. When the first version of the FCC’s national broadband map came out in November 2022, West Virginia’s underserved and unserved data was far off. West Virginia worked hard to improve the data for the updated map that came out in May 2023. Over 86,000 challenges were accepted and West Virginia was one of the top 10 most improved states. This updated map found that just over 271,000 serviceable locations in West Virginia do not have broadband access.

A timeline of Senator Capito’s efforts to ensure accurate broadband mapping data and secure this funding can be found here.

DETAILS ON THE BEAD PROGRAM:

The BEAD Program provides resources to expand high-speed Internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs. The program, which was created through IIJA, is a federal grant program that aims to get all Americans online by funding partnerships between states or territories, communities, and stakeholders to build infrastructure where we need it to and increase adoption of high-speed internet. BEAD prioritizes unserved locations that have no internet access or that only have access under 25/3 Mbps and underserved locations only have access under 100/20 Mbps.

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