July 14, 2023

Manchin Welcomes Assistant Secretary of Commerce to West Virginia to Discuss Broadband Expansion

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement welcoming Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Administrator, to West Virginia. Assistant Secretary Davidson will be holding a roundtable with local officials to discuss the more than $1.2 billion in federal funding coming to West Virginia through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. 

“I am proud Assistant Secretary of Commerce Alan Davidson is coming to the Mountain State as we work to connect every West Virginian to reliable, affordable high-speed internet by the end of the decade,” said Senator Manchin. “With this historic federal investment, we will not only improve the quality of life for thousands of families but also provide our communities with the tools and infrastructure needed to be competitive in the 21st centuryAs the only Member of Congress to formally challenge the FCC coverage maps and prove them wrong, I will not stop working for West Virginians until this broadband service becomes a reality for everyone.”

“My visit to West Virginia is a valuable opportunity to see how communities will benefit from the Internet for All initiative. I thank Senator Manchin and his team for their insights into the unique challenges and opportunities West Virginia communities face in offering affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet access to everyone. Working together, we can connect every West Virginian to the tools they need to thrive in the modern digital economy,” said Assistant Secretary Davidson.

In May, Senator Manchin announced that more than 86,000 new unserved locations in West Virginia would now be reflected on the latest update to the FCC’s broadband coverage map. For years, Senator Manchin has fought to update the maps, submitting more than 2,400 speedtests to the FCC on behalf of West Virginians to prove that its maps were inaccurate. As a result of these efforts, Senator Manchin secured provisions in the Broadband DATA Act in 2020 that directed the FCC to update its coverage map and allowed West Virginians to see if the FCC’s map accurately depicted whether they had broadband coverage at their address, who provided such coverage, and the type of technology being used. If the FCC map’s reported coverage was inaccurate, West Virginians were able to provide direct input to the FCC by submitting a challenge to the map. Thanks to these efforts, the new maps show that West Virginia has the least connectivity of any state in the country after Alaska, confirming what Senator Manchin and West Virginians across the state have been saying for years.

In the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Senator Manchin created the $42.45 billion BEAD program within the NTIA. Senator Manchin authored the provision that allocates funding to each state based on its proportion of unserved areas in the updated FCC broadband coverage map, as well as additional funding for high-cost areas like West Virginia that are more difficult and more expensive to serve.

In December, Senator Manchin’s office held a webinar with the State Broadband Office urging folks to submit challenges to the map, which will provide the basis for the billions of dollars in broadband funding that Senator Manchin included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

A timeline of Senator Manchin’s efforts to address broadband coverage issues can be found here.