Broadband Expansion

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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.

On the Legislature Today, members of the House Finance Committee consider two bills that would help balance the 2018 budget, one to lower the overall sales tax rate while getting rid of some exemptions, the other to capture some dollars from the state's Road Fund and increase the beer barrel tax.

Across the rotunda in a Senate committee, members have advanced a bill to create a medical marijuana program in West Virginia, allowing doctors to prescribe the illegal drug for medicinal use.

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.

Making the Case for Broadband Expansion in W.Va.

Mar 23, 2017

On The Legislature Today, there are several pieces of legislation making their way through the statehouse to expand broadband internet access in West Virginia.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, 30 percent of West Virginians do not have access to federally defined broadband internet. That's why two West Virginia groups have joined together to promote expansion in any way possible.

On The Legislature Today, Republican leaders this week released their 2018 budget framework and progressed a bill to reform the state's tax system, while Gov. Jim Justice made changes to his budget bill that he says will result in a $54 million surplus next year. 

Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy Executive Director Garrett Ballengee and Senior Policy Analyst for the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy Sean O'Leary discuss the plans.

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.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Lawmakers are 14 days into this legislative session and so far, not a single bill dealing with broadband expansion has been introduced. The issue received attention early last session, but lawmakers say they’re still working on a plan to reach both unserved and underserved areas of West Virginia.

On The Legislature Today, Gov. Jim Justice announces a downgrade of the state's bond rating nearly two weeks after he presented lawmakers with a proposal to increase taxes and fees for a road bond. 

Sen. Greg Boso and Del. Marty Gearheart, chairs of the House and Senate Transportation Committees, react to the downgrade and the governor's bond proposal. 

Tom Williams / Getty Images

This week on the Front Porch, U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito gives her take on what the new Trump administration means for West Virginia.

We discuss recent resurgence of black lung among coal miners, what comes after the promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act, what can be done to build rural broadband networks, and more.

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Telemedicine has been touted as a way to fill in some gaps in health care for rural residents.  But telemedicine relies on broadband service, which parts of Appalachia still don’t have.

“Without broadband, you don’t have telemedicine,” said nurse practitioner Lindsey Kennedy. Kennedy manages the telemedicine program at Bland County Medical Center in southwestern Virginia.  

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we take a look at a non-profit organization in the Northern Panhandle who has big plans for some abandoned properties.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the West Virginia Senate approved a bill to create a government-owned middle mile network, expanding access to broadband Internet in the state. 

The measure passed 29-5 during Thursday's Senate floor session.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate's Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has approved a bill that aims to expand access to broadband internet services across West Virginia, even though industry representatives continue to express opposition to the bill. 

Plan For Broadband Expansion Gains Traction

Jan 27, 2016
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we take a closer look at West Virginia’s budget issues and a new plan to expand broadband capabilities in the state.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

AARP and Generation West Virginia co-hosted a press conference at the capitol Tuesday focused on the future of broadband in the state.

AARP is a group that represents retired West Virginians and Generation West Virginia is a group aimed at getting young people engaged in West Virginia’s future.

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?

Rural Towns Need Broadband Access

Nov 19, 2015
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Beth Vorhees talks with two reporters from West Virginia Focus magazine about their articles in the most recent issue.  What does a town do when the company that employs hundreds leaves and the difficulty of broadband access.  That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

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:

islandjoe / creativecommons.org

Broadband service is being expanded to more than 89,000 additional homes and businesses in rural West Virginia.

The Federal Communications Commission announced Tuesday that its Connect America Fund has earmarked $38 million for Frontier Communications Corp. to expand service in West Virginia. Frontier received $22 million to expand service to 36,000 West Virginia customers under the program in 2013.

  West Virginia regulators have approved the release of $8.21 million from an account Frontier Communications established in 2010 to expand broadband service.

The company said Friday that the recently released funds reimburse Frontier for broadband-related investments the company made through 2013.

As a condition of Frontier's acquisition of Verizon properties in West Virginia, the company placed $48 million in an escrow account for broadband expansion.

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