August 26, 2011

Manchin, Rockefeller, Rahall Announce $571,900 Grant to Provide Broadband Services to Panther, West Va.

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller and Representative Nick Rahall (all D-W.Va.) today announced that Crystal Broadband Networks, Inc. will receive $571,900 through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Community Connect Grant Program. The funding will be used to provide broadband services to the community of Panther, West Virginia through a hybrid fiber coax network. 

“Improvements to our technology infrastructure help keep West Virginia competitive, creating jobs and generating economic activity by attracting businesses and residents,” Senator Manchin said. “It is so important that we expand access to the fastest Internet services to help West Virginians connect to the global economy.” 

Senator Manchin has long been a champion of broadband expansion throughout West Virginia. As Governor of West Virginia, he created the Broadband Deployment Council, spearheaded one of the earliest mapping initiatives, and partnered with Cisco Systems to build strategies for deployment and adoption.

“We have reached a new era where access to high-speed Internet is now essential for our health care system, our first responders, our educational opportunities, and our economy -- especially in rural areas,” said Senator Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  “This money reinforces our commitment to expanding high-speed Internet access to every West Virginian and American, an initiative which I have actively worked to develop for many years.  I’m glad that this grant is helping the families, businesses, and communities in Panther that lack this needed service.”

Senator Rockefeller continues to work to develop a nationwide strategy for increasing universal access to high-speed Internet- both wired and wireless, particularly throughout West Virginia.  He worked to develop the $4.7 billion Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) in the Recovery Act, designed to improve broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas, expand public computer center capacity, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. As part of the Recovery Act, West Virginia was awarded nearly $180 million in federal funding for expanding high-speed Internet service in the state.

“Every home, business, school, and firehouse we connect to the internet, opens economic opportunities for families, students, and entrepreneurs, and enhances the response capabilities of first responders,” said Rep. Rahall.  “Pure and simple, broadband access is as important to Panther as access to good roads and safe drinking water.  Universal broadband access requires the sizable strength of continued federal investment, which I will keep fighting to secure.”