Request for Comment Regarding Unserved Areas issued to improve understanding of broadband in WV

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Economic Development (WVDED), the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council and the State Broadband Office are working together to improve their understanding of broadband connectivity in West Virginia.

These organizations have submitted a Request for Comment Regarding Unserved Areas that will last until Sept. 7. The WVDED will use this request to gain information that is essential in classifying the state’s broadband availability on an address-to-address basis.

The classifications are used for a Target Area Map that can be found here.

There are four address classifications:

  1. Unserved: Addresses not reported as served to the FCC
  2. Likely Unserved: Addresses within a census block reported as served to the FCC, but that may contain some unserved addresses
  3. Likely Served: Addresses in an area that is likely served
  4. Funded: Addresses in an area that is funded by a state, local or federally funded project (excluding satellite)

“Our highest priority will be to expand world-class, reliable broadband service to the areas of West Virginia that need it most. This Request for Comment Regarding Unserved Areas will help us accurately identify service locations so that any available funding can be allocated in a transparent and responsible manner to reach those areas of West Virginia with the greatest need for investment in this critical infrastructure,” WVDED Cabinet Secretary Mitch Carmichael said.

Internet Service Providers are the main target for the request. Other sources like Regional Planning, Development Councils and Local Economic Development Authorities may also provide relevant data. Through an online survey provided by the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council, residents and businesses can also join in.

To fund the broadband expansion, the WVDED will utilize funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible and to collect as much information as possible during the comment period to develop a more accurate analysis of broadband availability in West Virginia,” Robert L. Morris, Jr., Chairman of the WV Broadband Enhancement Council, said.

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