WV Broadband Summit Held in Morgantown - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

WV Broadband Summit Held in Morgantown

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MORGANTOWN -

Senator Jay Rockefeller and Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation hosted the West Virginia Broadband Summit in Morgantown Monday.

Keynote speakers discussed the successes in connecting broadband in key sections of West Virginia economy to the Internet.

"It is a platform for opportunity. It is going to influence education, it is going to be part and parcel with all of our businesses, and it's going to be an important part in things like healthcare too," said Jessica Rosenworcel, the Commissioner of the Federal Communication Commission in Washington D.C. "So, we want to make sure that rural communities in states like West Virginia get to this big broadband future just at the same rate as everyone else."

A federal study called "Exploring the Digital Nation" said that West Virginia does have less connectivity than most other states in almost every category.

"At the time of our last broadband summit four years ago, less than 72 percent of West Virginians had access to broadband," said Rockefeller. "Today, 91 percent have access. This is fantastic progress, but we have more work to do."

People who attended the summit discussed how big companies are trying to help with connecting residents in remote areas of the state.

"They all do better but none of them have yet completed the job. It's just impossible to say that someone living in the city is more deserving than somebody living in the McDowell County, Mercer County border. They deserve it too," added Rockefeller.

Break-out panels had discussions on the E-rate program that successfully connected schools and libraries across West Virginia.

Rockefeller's new legislation on D-Block was also discussed.

It's a program that will connect law enforcement and other first responders nationwide.

"Wireless broadband, which will have a single handheld device, all over America, all aspects of law enforcement and safety and medical responded," Rockefeller said. "It's going to take about ten years to do, it's very expensive."

The program will cost about $15-20 billion.

Senator Rockefeller also said that 93 percent of schools in West Virginia are now connected to the Internet. He also said it is important to remember the seven percent that are still not.