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Town hall meeting features discussion of broadband options

WTAP News @ 6-Broadband Operations
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 6:11 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - A town hall hosted by What’s Next MOV and several members of Parkersburg City Council Monday afternoon was a discussion on how to expand broadband service.

The city of Parkersburg has $14.6 million in federal recovery act funds not earmarked for utility projects.

The CEO of an internet service provider explained how it is working on a fiber optic network that would expand broadband service in South Charleston.

SecureNet was working on the system prior to the pandemic, and, while that process slowed during the early months of COVID-19, it has accelerated since February.

And he says additional money might be available to provide a similar service in Parkersburg.

“The new infrastructure bill coming down from the feds gives $65 billion for fiber in municipalities,” says SecureNet CEO Kevin Mullins. “That’s the restriction: you have to use whatever money you get to put fiber in the ground for your residents.”

Wood County Delegate Vernon Criss and a staff representative from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s office also explained what state and federal money could be made available to expand broadband.

It was stated that 1 in 6 people officially living in poverty also have no access to broadband internet service. That deficiency was discussed even before the pandemic resulted in virtual classroom learning in the latter months of the 2019-2020 school year, and the first half of the 2020-21 school year.

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