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Senator Capito talks broadband issues, asks for feedback

WTAP News @ 5- Senator Capito talks broadband issues
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 4:31 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) -Improving access to broadband and high-speed internet is a hot topic for Senator Shelley Moore Capito.

Broadband accessibility has been a major issue Capito has been focusing on since 2015, and Thursday she held a virtual press conference to learn more about broadband issues and improvements across West Virginia.

Capito said she has created a new initiative called, “Capito Connect”. The goal for this initiative is to have West Virginians share information on broadband challenges or solutions they’ve seen in their communities.

Capito said at least 258,000 West Virginians do not have access to broadband. This means many residents do not have access to the internet or high-speed telecommunications in their homes, businesses, and schools.

While Capito said while this remains a high priority issue across the Mountain State, she says improvements are being made. At least $100 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is being allocated to improve broadband access in the mountain state.

“The first priority for that 100 million dollars is to make sure we have accurate mapping,” Capito said.

That means that we make certain that the broadband map in the state of West Virginia shows that if you are in a served area, you are actually served. Because what we see now is, we have a lot of maps that say certain areas of Lewis or certain areas of Doddridge are served when in fact we know they’re not. So, accurate maps are number one and the money cannot be deployed until we have accurate maps.”

Capito said the maps are being worked on by the state broadband council, private providers, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Department of Commerce. Capito said she hopes the maps will be available this Spring. To learn more on how you can submit any issues or improvements you’ve experienced with your broadband access to Capito’s office, visit www.capito.senate.gov/ShareYourStories.

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