Big concerns about whether West Virginia has enough broadband for students

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) As the school year approaches, many students will be taking some, or all, of their classes online.

In Charleston’s Kanawha City neighborhood, crews have been out all week laying additIonal broadband cables, especially at nearby schools.

While the state is gearing up for much of the school year online, there is concern West Virginia does not have enough broadband available.

“At the moment, we don’t have the capacity, but that has been something we’ve been working on for years, and is something we are continually working to improve. Right now, you’ve seen that we’re taking an approach trying to say, what can we do in 30 days? What can we do in three months, and what can we do in a year?” said Del. Daniel Linville, R-Cabell.

Last week, Gov. Justice detailed a plan for public hot spots across the state. It is estimated that 40 percent of the Mountain State has little or no broadband connectivity. Lawmakers from both parties agree that has to be fixed soon.

“And when we’re sending our kids to learn and be educated from home, it’s just not something we can stand for, and luckily in Charleston, we’ve got some small projects going on to improve that. However, in the surrounding areas, even a mile or two miles from the state capitol, we have little to no internet service,” said Del. Andrew Robinson, D-Kanawha.

The Department of Education estimated half of all students will choose the online learning option for the start of school in the fall.

“In all, Governor Justice plans to spend $6 million over the next month to create 1,000 internet educational hot spots across West Virginia,” said Mark Curtis, 59News Chief Political Reporter.

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