Associated Press Published

State Senators Drop Big Broadband Push, Look Smaller Scale


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.

Large Internet providers have said the project would duplicate existing networks.

A new version of the bill would let Internet companies request grant and bond money to build individual fiber network segments. Companies would have to show how they could retire their debts.

The proposal by Republican Sen. Chris Walters is headed to the Senate floor for consideration.

A Federal Communication Commission report ranked West Virginia 48th in the country for access to high-speed broadband Internet service.