West Virginia has announced preliminary approval of more than $18.5 million for broadband infrastructure projects in the state. The applications for funding were received under three related programs in the state’s plan to invest more than $1 billion for broadband connectivity.
Providers receiving funding will contribute an additional $19.1 million from other sources to cover total project costs of $37.8 million.
Frontier is slated to receive approximately $13.4 million of the funding preliminarily awarded.
UScellular is slated to receive an award for $679,950 in deployment funding and $250,000 in planning funds.
A third provider, Digital Connections (dba Prodigi) is slated to receive an award for over $4.3 million.
Wests Virginia Broadband Funding
West Virginia uses the umbrella term “Billion-Dollar Broadband Strategy” to encompass three broadband funding programs. These include the Line Extension Advancement and Development (LEAD), Major Broadband Project Strategies (MBPS) and Wireless Internet Networks (WIN) programs. The overall goal is to bring connectivity to 200,000 unserved addresses in the state.
Frontier’s awards came through the MBPS program.
- The company will receive $5.7 million in MBPS funding to provide broadband to cover some of total project costs of $16.3 million to make service available to 1,967 addresses in the Ripley area of Jackson County. The project will include about 249 miles of fiber.
- Frontier also will receive nearly $7.7 million in MBPS funding to cover some of the costs of total project costs of $15.3 million to make broadband available to 4,165 addresses in the greater Ravenswood area of Jackson County. The project will provide about 381 miles of fiber.
The Digital Connections (DBA Prodigi) awards came through the LEAD program. The company will supplement over $4.3 million in LEAD funding with $661,500 in matching funds to expand broadband connectivity to 799 addresses in East Monongalia and East Preston counties. The project will include 103 miles of fiber.
The UScellular awards, received under the Hardy Cellular Telephone Company moniker, were the first made in the WIN program and will provide wireless services to state parks and forests.
- The company will receive $679,950 in WIN funding to upgrade three existing towers with 5G and mid-band capabilities in Coopers Rock State Forest and will provide matching funds of $226,650. The project will target 1,327 addresses.
- The company also will receive $250,000 in planning funds for a wireless project in Watoga State Park.
In all, the awards made today will target more than 8,250 addresses and lead to the deployment of 700 miles of fiber, according to a press release.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced almost $21 million in funding for six broadband projects last July.
Joan Engebretson contributed to this report