CLARKSBURG, W.Va.- The Harrison Rural Electrification Association will use a grant, totaling almost $19 million, to provide high speed broadband to areas across Harrison, Doddridge, Lewis, Barbour and Upshur counties as part of the ReConnect Pilot Program.
Many local and state officials attended the announcement on Monday at Liberty High School, including Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin.
“Now I would say that internet connectivity is almost as important as electrification was back in the 30s, so if we’re going to compete in the 21st century, we have to be connected. If we want younger people to stay in West Virginia and enjoy the quality of life and the beauty of our state, they need to be connected so they can make a living,” said Senator Manchin.
This grant is the fourth largest in the country and will help students whose schools have switched from using textbooks to online options.
“You’re now going to have school students that are able to do homework at home because they’re now going to have fiber to the premises to be able to do their homework . You’re going to have people that choose to work from home,” said Kris Warner, state director of USDA Rural Development.
Senators Manchin and Capito said that they have been working together on this issue for a long time and do not consider it to be a political one, but one that makes the state a better place to live for everyone.
“Forget about the political parties. Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, be a proud West Virginian. Let’s get something done for our state,” said Senator Manchin.
Applications for a second round of funding will open up on January 31 of this year.