broadband

Jill Lang/ Adobe Stock

The Federal Communications Commission and the National Cancer Institute have joined forces to increase broadband access in rural areas in hopes of improving lives of cancer patients there. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans living in rural areas are still more likely to die of cancer than their counterparts in urban settings. 


Broadband Lawsuit
Bidgee / wikimedia commons

The West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council is asking state residents to use its new test portal to accurately measure the speed of their internet service.

The council's mission is to provide affordable and accessible broadband service throughout West Virginia. 


Broadband Analysis: Scrappy Wireless ISPs Get the Job Done

Sep 25, 2017
A wireless internet transmitter on the right cell tower beams data to subscribers in Whitesburg, Kentucky
Shawn Poynter / The Daily Yonder

Rural areas don’t need to wait on expensive and hard-to-build fiber-to-the-home networks to start using broadband. In many cases, fixed wireless can provide a fast and affordable last-mile connection in underserved areas. And some communities are building the system themselves.

WISPs – Wireless Internet Service Providers – are the un-song heroes closing the digital divide in rural communities. New technology makes WISPs faster than ever, much more affordable than fiber, and a great option in areas where terrain and population density make wired systems problematic.

Frontier Communications

Frontier Communications has filed a lawsuit to prevent a section of a bill that the company claims conflicts with federal law and increases the chances of outages for customers.

islandjoe / creativecommons.org

The commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission is slated to attend a broadband summit next month in Ohio.

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports that Mignon Clyburn will attend the Appalachian Ohio-West Virginia Connectivity Summit and Town Hall on July 18 in Marietta.

Broadband Lawsuit
Bidgee / wikimedia commons

West Virginia's U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito says $3 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help to provide broadband access in Barbour, Randolph and Upshur counties.

According to Capito's office, the grant will be matched with $450,000 in local funds to deploy fixed wireless broadband to over 3,500 households and business in the Central West Virginia Development Association LLC.

Broadband Lawsuit
Bidgee / wikimedia commons

Federal authorities say Frontier Communications overcharged West Virginia for $4.7 million of federal grant money in the $126 million project to extend broadband internet to underserved regions of the state.

The Office of Inspector General cites reimbursements for $465,000 for invoice processing fees as "unreasonable" and at least $4.24 million in "unallowable" indirect charges for overhead and administrative expenses.

Izzy Broomfield

Nearly half of the people living in rural parts of United States don’t have access to broadband internet, the high-speed connection required for common uses many of us take for granted. Government and survey data show that in 65 counties across Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, most residents don’t have access to broadband -- that’s a quarter of all the counties in the three states.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Ohio Valley ReSource takes a look at the state of broadband internet  access in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. We'll find out about how it's affecting commerce and economic development in central Appalachia.

We'll also hear about some grassroots and legislative efforts aimed at expanding broadband access to areas underserved by commercial communications companies.

Legislature
Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

Newly signed laws are intended to extend broadband internet service to parts of West Virginia lacking it and help the state better prepare for major flooding.

The broadband measure says it's a primary goal of the Legislature and governor to make every community and rural area accessible and establish equitable access to 21st-century technology.

It establishes a council to gather data on existing service, including internet speeds, and annually map them.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The House of Delegates has agreed to amendments offered by the Senate to House Bill 3093, a bill that would expand broadband access to the entire state. The bill now heads to Gov. Jim Justice for his signature.

The bill allows for communities to form “internet co-ops.” These cooperatives would work together with a service provider to become their community’s own provider. This provision allows for areas that may not have access to broadband, due to geological issues or other setbacks, to provide internet access to their communities.

Roger Hanshaw
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Thirty percent of West Virginians do not have access to basic broadband services as defined by federal law, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

When you look at just the rural parts of West Virginia, that percent increases to 48.

House Bill 3093 aims to change that.

Roger Hanshaw
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

In the House Friday, the House Judiciary Committee took its first look at a bill to expand broadband internet access in the state. The bill’s goal is for all West Virginians to have access by 2020.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, 30 percent of West Virginians do not have access to basic broadband services as defined by federal law. When you look at just the rural parts of the state that percentage increases to 48.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Dr. Robert Rupp weighs in on the importance and power of political debates both nationally, and here in West Virginia. He’s a member of the State Election Commission and a professor of political science at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Rupp spoke with Ashton Marra about the first presidential debate and what West Virginia’s candidates for governor can take away from it before they hit the air waves tonight. 

islandjoe / creativecommons.org

A West Virginia telephone company says a competitor that filed a lawsuit against it is seeking revenge over a high-speed internet project.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that Frontier Communications has asked a judge to dismiss the federal lawsuit that Citynet filed against it last month. Frontier says Citynet is seeking revenge because the federal government awarded funds to Frontier's proposed broadband project instead of Citynet's proposal.

mountains, sunset, clouds, valley, Cheat River
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In an effort to combat students' low access rates to high-speed broadband, Monongalia County Schools will issue Chromebooks to all of its students in the third grade and above in November.

A Chromebook, a laptop and operating system by Google, will allow each student to download web pages using the school's WiFi  to use for homework at home, where he or she may not have internet access. Clay-Battelle High School already achieved one-to-one last year, after a project to distribute broadband to its students for free using abandoned television and radio channels stalled.

islandjoe / creativecommons.org

West Virginia residents told federal officials that the state's lack of high-speed internet access is hurting their quality of life and damaging the state's ability to attract tourists.

The Register-Herald reports that business owners, residents and county officials aired their frustrations at a discussion Tuesday at Lansing's Adventures on the Gorge resort.

U.S. Sens. Angus King and Shelley Moore Capito are asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase broadband speed definitions for a grant program that serves rural communities.

The senators sent a letter to the USDA requesting that the agency modernize the Community Connect Grant Program with increased broadband speed and service definitions.

The Senate Finance Committee has approved a bill to increase the tobacco tax on cigarettes by $1 a pack. 

West Virginia University Health Sciences Executive Dean Dr. Clary Marsh says the increase will be enough to discourage West Virginia smokers and will likely increase the health outcomes for vulnerable populations like pregnant women and children.

Dr. Marsh discusses the tobacco tax, as well as what WVU is doing to combat substance abuse in West Virginia.

islandjoe / creativecommons.org

West Virginia lawmakers are dropping a push to build a 2,500-mile high-speed Internet network all at once and instead are looking to build the fiber network in pieces.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that senators have retreated from trying to build a $72 million state-funded network meant to bring Internet to rural communities.

islandjoe / creativecommons.org

The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved a committee substitute Friday to Senate Bill 16, a bill that would provide up to one million dollars in tax credits to any company delivering broadband service to certain hard-to-reach rural areas.


At the legislature today, a nearly 400 million dollar budget deficit in looming over our guests tonight, the chairs of the House and Senate Finance Committees.

Sen. Mike Hall and Del. Eric Nelson share their thoughts on how to make up for the shortfall.

Also, it was broadband day at the statehouse as West Virginians young and old focused on how to expand access to the necessary utility.

On this Snowmaggedon edition of The Front Porch:

1. A huge snowball fight breaks out over Right to Work, and whether it is right for West Virginia

2. Does Sen. Chris Walter's bill to expand broadband internet access stand a snowball's chance in hell? Should it?

Wv Broadband Mapping Project

West Virginia has some of the lowest rates of broadband access at some of the slowest speeds in the nation.

Sen. Chris Walters, R-Putnam, wants state government to build a sort of fiber-optic interstate highway and then lease it to private providers. The goal is to bring high internet speeds at cheaper costs.

On The Front Porch podcast, Walters gave ten reasons for building the network:

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, along with other federal representatives, introduced legislation that would reauthorize the Appalachian Regional Commission. The announcement comes on the heels of a report evaluating the progress of the Commission after 50 years.

West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee took up a bill Wednesday that its sponsor says will create a government owned broadband interstate in West Virginia.

Senate Bill 459 calls on the state to invest $78 million in expanding broadband access to West Virginians. The money would pay for the installation of 2,600 miles of broadband fiber across West Virginia with an emphasis on expanding access in rural areas.

SalomonCeb / wikimedia Commons

  A West Virginia high-speed Internet project is being investigated by the federal government.

The Charleston Gazette reports that the U.S. Department of Commerce's inspector general has asked state officials to turn over thousands of documents related to a fiber-optic cable network built by Frontier Communications.

The $42 million project was funded with federal stimulus money.

Federal officials have rejected West Virginia's proposal to spend about $2.5 million in funds leftover from a broadband stimulus grant.
 
     State chief technology officer Gale Given tells the Charleston Gazette that the state likely will have to return the unspent funds to the federal government.
 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The legislature takes a closer look at how the state handles the purchasing of technology and broadband infrastructure, Builder Levy returns to Appalachia to document the changes since he first photographed the region in the '60s, Tim O'Brien is not only a Grammy nominee but also a recent inductee of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.

Ashton Marra

The terms “router-gate” and “tower-gate” have been thrown around in committee meetings, in newspaper articles, on social media, to refer to what some are calling major mess ups by the previous and current administrations’ efforts to expand internet access across the state.

The funds those scandals misused came to West Virginia as a grant under the Federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, or BTOP. Legislative audits show that money was misused in various ways and now some are calling on the state to take a look at whether the expansion of the broadband fiber optic cable network has also been mismanaged.

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