Broadband investment announced
by Ron Gregory
West Union – Republican U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today joined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Jim Hubbard, USDA West Virginia State Director Kris Warner, and others to announce a $7,623,751 million broadband investment.
Since the launch of Capito’s “Capito Connect” initiative in 2015, USDA has awarded more than $45 million in grants to extend broadband service and improve telemedicine in West Virginia.
Today’s announcement is the fourth ReConnect grant Capito has announced for West Virginia in the last year.
The grant, which is through USDA’s ReConnect program, was awarded to Citynet and will support the buildout of broadband infrastructure to provide gigabit level service over a 205-mile fiber network to residents in Barbour, Doddridge, and Randolph counties. As a result, the project will benefit approximately 6,054 people, 58 farms, 41 businesses, three fire stations, two schools, and two post offices. Earlier this year, Capito advocated for the approval of Citynet’s application.
“Whether it’s broadband or highways, infrastructure is vital to the well-being of West Virginians and the communities within which they live,” Capito said. “I helped create the ReConnect program within the appropriations process because I saw the need to close the digital divide in rural America. I’ve continued to support ReConnect enthusiastically because USDA uniquely understands the difficulties associated with implementing broadband in rural areas and is better equipped to tackle those issues head-on.
“Today’s announcement will help connect more than 6,000 people in Barbour, Doddridge and Randolph counties. This is a major step forward in our efforts to better connect West Virginia thanks in part to my ‘Capito Connect Plan.’ It also demonstrates how the collaboration of local, state, and federal partners can lead to results that help West Virginia homes and businesses in need. Access and affordability of rural broadband has always been a priority of mine, and I’m grateful to see Secretary Perdue and the Trump administration prioritize this issue,” she concluded.