Justice announces preliminary approvals for West Virginia Broadband Investment Plan

PRESS RELEASE:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –  Last week at the inaugural West Virginia Broadband Summit, Gov. Jim Justice announced the preliminary approval of more than $32 million under two programs of the West Virginia Broadband Investment Plan. This announcement includes applications received under the programs Line Extension Advancement and Development (LEAD) and Major Broadband Project Strategies (MBPS).

LEAD and MBPS projects announced through this application cycle will provide broadband connectivity to more than 6,000 targeted locations with the deployment of approximately 793 miles of new infrastructure. In addition to grant funds awarded, over $16 million in matching funds will bring the total investment to over $48 million.

LEAD funds are being awarded to Armstrong Telecommunications, Inc, for the Wayne-Lincoln-East Lynn and Branchland fiber project; Digital Connections, DBA Prodigi, for the Preston to Barbour project, and the Tucker County-Parsons, Hambleton, Aurora project; Shenandoah Cable Television, LLC, for the Lewis County, West, Camden and Horner project; and to Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Telephone, Inc, for three separate projects serving locations in Franklin, Milam, Upper Tract, Brandywine, and Sugar Grove, in Pendleton County. The Pendleton County Commission, Barbour County Economic Development Authority, and Tucker County Economic Development Authority will contribute additional matching funds toward the projects awarded in their counties.

Projects announced under the MBPS program will utilize public-private partnerships to maximize investment and prioritize community involvement through public-private partnerships. The Berkeley County Council will provide $1 million in matching funds in partnership with Frontier West Virginia, Inc., to deploy fiber-to-the-premise infrastructure in Berkeley County.

The Grant County Commission has partnered with two internet-service-providers (ISPs) – Micrologic, Inc. and Shenandoah Cable Television, Inc. – to deploy fiber-to-the-premise infrastructure in rural areas of Grant County. The Grant County Commission will contribute more than $1.7 million to maximize funding for both projects.

“I am committed to ensuring that all West Virginians have access to the most advanced internet connectivity possible,” Gov. Justice said. “This allocation of funding represents several major steps toward this goal. The projects I am announcing today solidify our commitment to developing broadband infrastructure throughout West Virginia.”

Funding for the West Virginia Broadband Investment Plan, MBPS and LEAD programs, are provided through the West Virginia Legislature’s allocation of $100 million to create the West Virginia Broadband Development Fund. The Fund includes $90 million in funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and $10 million in state general revenue funds. Funds are also derived through the ARPA Capital Projects Fund, which includes $136 million for broadband development in West Virginia.

The West Virginia Department of Economic Development, Office of Broadband, will administer program funds. Under the West Virginia Broadband Investment Plan, projects selected for award will receive a Preliminary Approval Announcement, which will be published on http://broadband.wv.gov.

Internet Service Providers other than the applicant will receive an opportunity to submit data to the West Virginia Department of Economic Development demonstrating that the ISP currently offers broadband service at 25/3 Mbps or greater to addresses within the Proposed Project Funded Service Area. Data submitted must meet all the requirements described in the Process For Soliciting Information Regarding Unserved Areas, which the Department published on July 12, 2021.

Funds were awarded for the following:

Armstrong Telecommunications, Inc.

Wayne-Lincoln-East Lynn Extension

LEAD Program Funds: $3,400,931

Matching Funds: $399,500

Total Project Cost: $3,800,431

Targeted Addresses: 551

Miles of Fiber: 56

Armstrong Telecommunications, Inc. will receive $3,400,931 in LEAD funds for the expansion of broadband connectivity to 551 targeted addresses in the counties Lincoln and Wayne. This project will serve locations in the communities of East Lynn and Branchland. The project will include the installation of approximately 56 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband service in the project area.

Digital Connections, DBA Prodigi

Preston to Barbour Rural Expansion

LEAD Program Funds: $6,591,470

Matching Funds: $722,500

Total Project Cost: $7,313,970

Targeted Addresses: 803

Miles of Fiber: 135

Prodigi will receive $6,591,470 in LEAD funds for the expansion of broadband connectivity to 803 targeted addresses in the counties Preston and Barbour. Barbour County EDA will provide an additional $371,500 in matching funds totaling the overall match to $722,500. This project will serve locations in the communities Tunnelton, Philippi, Moatsville, Belington, Albright, Kingwood, Thornton, and Bruceton Mills. The project will include the installation of approximately 135 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband service in the project area.

Digital Connections, DBA Prodigi

Tucker County-Parsons, Hambleton, Aurora

LEAD Program Funds: $7,906,924

Matching Funds: $111,000

Total Project Cost: $8,017,924

Targeted Addresses: 644

Miles of Fiber: 141

Prodigi will receive $7,906,924 in LEAD funds for the expansion of broadband connectivity to 644 targeted addresses in the counties Preston and Tucker. Barbour County EDA will provide an additional $50,000 in matching funds totaling the overall match to $111,000. This project will serve locations in the communities Parsons, Hambleton, Aurora, and Eglon. The project will include the installation of approximately 141 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband service in the project area.

Shenandoah Cable Television, LLC, DBA Shentel

Lewis County-Jane Lew, Weston, Camden, Horner

LEAD Program Funds: $402,727

Matching Funds: $82,486

Total Project Cost: $485,213

Targeted Addresses: 157

Miles of Cable: 7

Shentel will receive $402,727 in LEAD funds for the expansion of broadband connectivity to 157 targeted addresses in Lewis County. This project will serve locations in the communities Jane Lew, Weston, Camden, and Horner. The project will include the installation of approximately 7 miles of cable infrastructure to serve as Phase II of their 2022 MBPS project.

Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Telephone, Inc.

Pendleton County-Franklin-Milam

LEAD Program Funds: $1,254,945

Matching Funds: $77,000

Total Project Cost: $1,331,945

Targeted Addresses: 83

Miles of Fiber: 23

Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Telephone, Inc. will receive $1,254,945 in LEAD funds for the expansion of broadband connectivity to 83 targeted addresses in Pendleton County. Pendleton County Commission will provide an additional $22,000 in matching funds totaling the overall match to $77,000. This project will serve locations in the communities Franklin and Milam. The project will include the installation of approximately 23 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband service in the project area.

Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Telephone, Inc.

Pendleton County-Franklin, Upper Tract

LEAD Program Funds: $1,277,412

Matching Funds: $113,000

Total Project Cost: $1,390,812

Targeted Addresses: 123

Miles of Fiber: 30

Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Telephone, Inc. will receive $1,277,412 in LEAD funds for the expansion of broadband connectivity to 123 targeted addresses in Pendleton County. Pendleton County Commission will provide an additional $32,400 in matching funds totaling the overall match to $113,000. This project will serve locations in the communities Franklin and Upper Tract. The project will include the installation of approximately 30 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband service in the project area.

Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Telephone, Inc.

Pendleton County-Brandywine, Sugar Grove, Milam

LEAD Program Funds: $888,620

Matching Funds: $91,700

Total Project Cost: $980,320

Targeted Addresses: 114

Miles of Fiber: 19

Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Telephone, Inc. will receive $888,620 in LEAD funds for the expansion of broadband connectivity to 114 targeted addresses in Pendleton County. Pendleton County Commission will provide an additional $26,200 in matching funds totaling the overall match to $91,700. This project will serve locations in the communities of Brandywine, Sugar Grove, Milam, and Franklin. The project will include the installation of approximately 19 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband service in the project area.

Frontier West Virginia, Inc.

Berkeley County MBPS-Hedgesville, Gerrardstown, Martinsburg, Inwood, Bunker Hill

MBPS Program Funds: $6,326,283

Matching Funds: $11,748,811

Total Project Cost: $18,075,093

Targeted Addresses: 2,531

Miles of Fiber: 286

Community Partner – Berkeley County Council

Frontier will receive $6,326,283 in MBPS funds for the expansion of broadband connectivity to 2,531 targeted addresses in Berkeley County. This project will serve locations in the communities of Hedgesville, Gerrardstown, Martinsburg, Inwood, and Bunker Hill. Frontier was selected by the Berkeley County Council as a partner to fulfill the MBPS program requirements. Berkeley County Council will provide an additional $1,000,000 in matching funds totaling the overall match to $11,748,811. The project will include the installation of approximately 286 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband service in the project area.

Micrologic, Inc.

Grant County MBPS-Maysville, New Creek, Cabins, Keyser

MBPS Program Funds: $2,868,035

Matching Funds: $956,012

Total Project Cost: $3,824,047

Targeted Addresses: 266

Miles of Fiber: 55

Community Partner – Grant County Commission

Micrologic will receive $2,868,035 in MBPS funds for the expansion of broadband connectivity to 266 targeted addresses in Grant County. This project will serve locations in the communities Maysville, New Creek, Cabins, and Keyser. Micrologic was selected by the Grant County Commission as a partner to fulfill the MBPS program requirements. Grant County Commission will provide an additional $700,000 in matching funds totaling the overall match to $956,012. The project will include the installation of approximately 55 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband service in the project area.

Shenandoah Cable Television, LLC, DBA Shentel

Gormania, Bismarck, Mount Storm

MBPS Program Funds: $1,116,204

Matching Funds: $1,791,853

Total Project Cost: $2,908,057

Targeted Addresses: 809

Miles of Fiber: 41

Community Partner – Grant County Commission

Shentel will receive $1,116,204 in MBPS funds for the expansion of broadband connectivity to 809 targeted addresses in Grant County. This project will serve locations in the communities Gormania, Bismarck, and Mount Storm. Shentel was selected by the Grant County Commission as a partner to fulfill the MBPS program requirements. Grant County Commission will provide an additional $1,094,255 in matching funds totaling the overall match to $1,791,853. The project will include the installation of approximately 41 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband service in the project area.

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