June 07, 2022

Manchin Announces $136.3 Million Approved to Expand Broadband Access Across West Virginia

Funding from the American Rescue Plan will help serve 10% of the unserved locations in West Virginia

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced $136.3 million from the American Rescue Plan Capital Projects Fund has been approved to expand reliable, high-speed broadband access across West Virginia. These funds will be matched with $90 million from West Virginia’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds and an additional $10 million from the state’s revenue.

“Reliable, affordable broadband access is absolutely critical for West Virginians and Americans to do their jobs, complete their homework, keep up with their healthcare appointments, and to compete in a 21st century economy,” Senator Manchin said. “Today I am proud to announce that West Virginia’s plan to use $136.3 million from the American Rescue Plan to expand reliable, affordable high-speed broadband access across West Virginia has been approved. We need to take the same transformative approach toward broadband that we took toward electricity in the 1930s, and this investment in broadband deployment is a down payment on those efforts.”

“The pandemic exposed longstanding challenges that workers and families face when they don’t have adequate access to the internet, especially those living in rural areas and other unconnected communities. That is why these broadband investments are so urgently needed across the country,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “This funding through the American Rescue Plan will help connect thousands of households and businesses in West Virginia to affordable, high-speed internet by making broadband investments in communities that include the most rural parts of the state. Treasury commends West Virginia for targeting this funding to places where it is most urgently needed across the state.”

Senator Manchin’s work to expand broadband access can be found here.

This funding is estimated to support projects that will serve 20,000 locations, or approximately 10% of locations in the state that lack access to high-speed internet. The state will use three separate grant programs that focus funding for last-mile connections to homes and businesses currently without access to internet at speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps. The Line Extension Advancement and Development Program (LEAD) will fund the extensions of last-mile broadband networks that can be constructed quickly, the Major Broadband Projects Strategies Program (MBPS) will fund larger-scale projects designed to serve large numbers of eligible addresses, and GigReady will provide local governments with the opportunity to utilize SLFRF as matching funds for broadband infrastructure projects.  Each of these three programs is designed to enable funding to reach areas that are hardest to serve due to low population density, rurality, or other factors.