June 26, 2017

Momentum Builds for Manchin Efforts to Expand Broadband Access in West Virginia

Washington, D.C. – Last week, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) followed up the commitment from U.S. Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Ajit Pai to help close broadband gaps in West Virginia by building support for his Rural Wireless Access Act of 2017 with the bill’s seventh co-sponsor. The Rural Wireless Act would require the FCC to improve the way it collects mobile broadband coverage data, which is necessary to expand broadband deployment in West Virginia.

“Over twenty years ago, Congress mandated that rural Americans must have affordable access to comparable services, which today includes a reliable broadband connection,” Senator Manchin said. “Unfortunately, coverage gaps still exist in West Virginia. I am proud to lead the effort to expand broadband access to every corner of the state. We cannot afford to leave rural America behind.”

Senator Manchin also sent a bipartisan letter with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) urging the FCC to expand broadband deployment by moving forward with the FCC’s Remote Areas Fund (RAF), which is intended to reach even the most rural and remote areas of the country that do not currently have a viable and affordable broadband option. Importantly, the RAF could deliver a broadband connection to over 12,000 locations in West Virginia alone. To read the full letter to the FCC on the Remote Areas Fund, please click here.

Earlier this month, Senator Manchin sponsored the Rural Broadband Deployment Streamlining Act that aims to expedite deployment of broadband access in rural areas and improve the data the FCC collects for the National Broadband Map. These efforts follow Senator Manchin’s work to deliver $4.53 billion of federal support to expand mobile broadband access in rural America through Mobility Fund II.