BRUCETON MILLS, W.Va. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito was in Preston Co. on Friday afternoon to view fiberoptic broadband being installed at the home of Jeffrey and Beverly Semple.
The line was installed by Prodigi and is funded through a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Semple family is one of roughly 1,300 homes in the northern Preston Co. area that will benefit from about 100 miles of broadband internet cables being laid out, according to Tim Wotring, the president of Prodigi. Capito spoke to the Semples about how the new internet connection would benefit them and discussed Telehealth, communicating with their grandchild in Pittsburgh and being able to have reliable internet.
“I think that we’ve got to close the digital divide between rural and urban America,” Capito said. “I think with this pandemic we’ve realized how the value of connectivity more than ever and we’ve also realized the value of rural America more than ever. So we’re not on top of one another in urban areas and we can do a lot of business that’s not in the more concentrated areas. This is one of the great projects we’ve seen. We’ve got some other great ones going in Harrison and Barbour and Upshur and in the southern parts of the state. This is great — a great project to see and I’ve talked to them all about it but to actually get to see it is pretty nice and the Stemples were nice enough to tell us how important it is for them.”
The senator said efforts like this are all part of her Capito Connect initiative, which aims to help spread broadband to all parts of the state.
Wotring said currently Prodigi is looking to apply for the USDA’s Connect Grant which will allow his company to continue spreading fiber cables throughout the county, giving residents better access to the internet and other communication services.