U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito played host to an event Wednesday at the I-79 Technology Park discussing the challenges of and unveiling a plan to bringing affordable, high-speed internet access to every home, business and classroom in West Virginia.
“We’ve sort of been spinning our tires and the more we do that, the further behind we get,” Capito said. “When you see the statistic that 56 percent of West Virginia doesn’t have adequate high-speed internet, that’s a problem [for] telehealth, education, economic development.”
The statistics she used came from a study conducted by the Federal Communications Commission, which also found that in rural areas of the state the number increases to 74 percent.
The main question addressed during the roundtable, which included representatives from the state Office of GIS Coordination, Region VII Regional Planning and Development Council, Appalachian Regional Commission, the FCC, The Rural Utilities Service, the state Telehealth Alliance and a small business owner, was how do you provide internet to throughout the state to meet the FCC’s standard download speed of 25 mbps?
Another challenge facing the initiative is how to get people currently with internet access up to broadband speed and also get access to everyone without the process taking too long and the state falling behind in downloads speeds.
To tackle the overall issue, the senator introduced her three-step “Capito Connect” plan.
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