Access to fast, reliable and affordable high-speed internet isn’t a luxury. It’s needed to fully engage in society, the economy, lifelong learning opportunities, and it helps ensure public safety and the health of our nation. Unfortunately, too many in West Virginia lack access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.
The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment, mapping, equity, and adoption activities in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The State of West Virginia is currently participating in the BEAD Program and, as a first step, has applied for $5 million in initial planning funds, which will support the development of a Five-Year Action Plan. The Five-Year Action Plan will establish the State’s high-speed internet goals and priorities and serve as a comprehensive needs assessment that will inform West Virginia’s high-speed internet infrastructure expansion and the development of proposals for implementation funds.
The Five-Year Action Plan will (1) be informed by collaboration with community members, local and regional entities, as well as unions and worker organizations, (2) identify and detail the State of West Virginia’s high-speed internet investment priorities and associated costs, and (3) align the State’s planned spending with its economic development, community benefit, workforce, telehealth, digital equity, and other related efforts.
The WV Office of Broadband and partners are beginning to develop a Five-Year Action Plan. The Five-Year Action Plan will be published within 270 days of the receipt of Initial Planning Funds.