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$24 million in broadband infrastructure targets four regional projects | State & Region

Gov. Jim Justice announced on Friday the preliminary approval of more than $55.3 million in GigReady and Major Broadband Project Strategies Program (MBPS) funds to broadband infrastructure projects throughout the state, including four in southern West Virginia that are getting in excess of $24 million.

The MBPS and GigReady programs are part of Gov. Justice’s plan to invest over $1 billion in state and federal funds to make broadband connectivity available for the first time to 200,000 West Virginia homes and businesses.

Projects announced through this application cycle will provide broadband connectivity to more than 17,500 targeted locations in West Virginia. The investment will result in more than 940 miles of new fiber infrastructure. This allocation of state funding will leverage $16.8 million in additional funds for a total broadband infrastructure investment of $72 million.

“Our goal of getting more and more West Virginians high-speed internet access continues, and this latest announcement should get people in Greenbrier, Monroe, Raleigh, Randolph, Roane, and Summers counties very, very excited,” Gov. Justice said in a press release. “We have to continue to expand access to reliable broadband. That’s the goal of my Billion-Dollar Broadband Strategy.

“This round of improvements will help people who need high-speed internet to work remotely, allow students to do their homework, give our seniors access to the telehealth options they need, and businesses the ability to compete on the world stage,” the governor said in the release.

Applicants under GigReady may participate either in the technical assistance phase where the program helps communities scope projects and complete other necessary steps in the development process or by requesting implementation funding for more fully developed infrastructure projects. This GigReady program announcement includes five projects that are ready for implementation funding to install high-speed broadband infrastructure.

Funding for the West Virginia Broadband Investment Plan, MBPS Program, is provided through Justice’s request, and the West Virginia Legislature’s approval, of $100 million to create the West Virginia Broadband Development Fund. The Fund includes $90 million in funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and $10 million in state general revenue funds. Funds are also derived through the ARPA Capital Projects Fund, which includes $136 million for broadband development in West Virginia. The West Virginia Department of Economic Development, Office of Broadband, will administer program funds.

This marks the fifth time this year that Justice has announced a round of major broadband projects through his Billion-Dollar Broadband Strategy.

Factoring in all funding sources combined, a grand total investment of over $130 million has been committed to undertake 24 major broadband infrastructure projects throughout West Virginia. These projects will result in over 2,700 miles of new fiber infrastructure, providing high-speed broadband access to over 37,000 new homes and businesses.

Broadband projects in southern West Virginia that will be receiving funds are:

Raleigh County Commission: Ghent Fiber Deployment Project

GigReady Program Funds: $5,889,198

Matching Funds: $1,963,066

Total Project Cost $7,852,264

Estimated Fiber Mileage: 106

Targeted Addresses: 1,677

Public-Private Partner – Gigabeam Networks, Inc.

Summers County Commission: Summers County Fiber-Mountview to Bellepoint

GigReady Program Funds: $3,703,147

Matching Funds: $1,234,382

Total Project Cost: $4,937,529

Estimated Fiber Mileage: 65

Targeted Addresses: 1,036

Public-Private Partner – Gigabeam Networks, Inc.

Monroe County Commission: Seneca Trail & Green Valley Road Fiber Project

GigReady Program Funds: $1,797,904

Matching Funds: $599,301

Total Project Cost: $2,397,205

Estimated Fiber Mileage: 30

Targeted Addresses: 633

Public-Private Partner – Gigabeam Networks, Inc.

Greenbrier County Commission: Greenbrier Broadband Expansion Project

GigReady Program Funds: $12,940,988

Matching Funds: $4,313,663

Total Project Cost: $17,254,651

Estimated Fiber Mileage: 177

Targeted Addresses: 5,316

Public-Private Partner – Citynet, LLC

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