CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Governor Jim Justice announced, today, Monday, July 18, 2022 that he approved a grant funding of over $20.8 million dollars for 6 major broadband infrastructure projects across the state through the Major Broadband Project Strategies program.

The Major Broadband Project Strategies program is a part of a larger project by Governor Justice called Governor Justice’s Billion Dollar Broadband Strategy, which is a plan to invest in over $1 billion in state and federal funds to make broadband connectivity available to the first time ever to over 200,000 West Virginia properties, such as homes and businesses.

Governor Justice’s recent announcement marks the first of grants that have been awarded through the Major Broadband Project Strategies program. These approved projects will provide over 628 miles of internet and broadband connection to approximately 5,849 homes and businesses in West Virginia.

“I could not be more proud – my Billion-Dollar Broadband Strategy is really on the move. These projects are going to make a massive difference in the lives of so many West Virginians. They’re going to enable people to have incredible broadband access in areas of our state that have never had it before, said Governor Justice.

Governor Justice continued his thoughts on this project stating, “This will help people who need high-speed internet to work remotely and help students be able to do their homework, give our seniors better access to telehealth options, allow businesses to reach more customers than ever. The possibilities go on and on and West Virginians everywhere deserve this critical access. I applaud all the hard work that went into making this announcement possible.”

The mountain state’s total investment of $20,845,157 will help along with another additional funding of $13,279,926 from other funding sources, which all together comes to a total of $34,125,083 for this upcoming broadband project.

It is also noted that this will be the third time this year that Governor Justice has announced a grant for major broadband projects through his billion dollar plan. The round of Major Broadband Project Strategies projects that was announced has joined 2 previous projects with the Line Extension Advancement and Development program.

With all these projects in mind and their funds combined, a grand total of over $61.2 million has been put into 16 major broadband infrastructure projects throughout the state of West Virginia. These projects will provide over 1,000 miles of new fiber infrastructure, providing high-speed broadband access to over 11,000 new properties, which include homes and businesses of West Virginians.

“The magnitude of what we’ve done to expand access to broadband in West Virginia in such a short period of time is really unprecedented. And what’s even more exciting is that we’re just getting started. We are going to keep announcing round after round of these projects until we light up every nook and cranny of our state with broadband. West Virginians everywhere should be incredibly excited,” stated Governor Justice.

Projects that were also mentioned this round under the Major Broadband Project Strategies program, closed on February 19, 2022 and additional approvals to projects will be announced shortly.

The following are projects that will be receiving Major Broadband Project Strategies program funding:

Citynet, LLC: Thornton, Gladesville, & Morgantown South
MBPS Program Funds: $2,200,635
Matching Funds: $733,545
Total Project Cost: $2,934,180
Estimated Fiber Mileage: 86
Targeted Addresses: 376
Project Summary: WV BIP MBPS funds will be awarded to Citynet for the expansion of broadband services to 376 targeted addresses in Marion, Monongalia, Preston, and Taylor Counties. The project will include the installation of approximately 86 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband services in the project area.

Comcast Cable Communications, LLC – Northern Panhandle Broadband Expansion
MBPS Program Funds: $14,726,012
Matching Funds: $6,265,607
Total Project Cost: $20,991,619
Estimated Fiber Mileage: 304
Targeted Addresses: 1,402
Project Summary: WV BIP MBPS funds will be awarded to Comcast for the expansion of broadband services to 1402 targeted addresses in Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, and Ohio Counties. The project will include the installation of approximately 304 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband services in the project area. 

DQE Communications, LLC – Greater Hepzibah Area FTTH
MBPS Program Funds: $1,088,278
Matching Funds: $373,000
Total Project Cost: $1,461,278
Estimated Fiber Mileage: 15
Targeted Addresses: 650
Project Summary: WV BIP MBPS funds will be awarded to DQE for the expansion of broadband services to 650 targeted addresses in Harrison County. The project will include the installation of approximately 15 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband services in the project area. 

Shenandoah Cable Television, LLC – Lewis County Broadband Project
MBPS Program Funds: $1,119,113
Matching Funds : $466,500
Total Project Cost: $1,585,613 
Estimated Fiber Mileage: 27
Targeted Addresses: 457
Project Summary: WV BIP MBPS funds will be awarded to Shentel for the expansion of broadband services to 457 targeted addresses in Lewis County. The project will include the installation of approximately 27 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband services in the project area. Shentel provided $236,500 in matching funds for the project and Lewis County contributed $230,000 for a total match of $466,500.

Frontier Communications Corporation – West Mason
MBPS Program Funds: $1,039,734
Matching Funds : $3,447,586
Total Project Cost: $4,487,320
Estimated Fiber Mileage: 113
Targeted Addresses: 1,398
Project Summary: WV BIP MBPS funds will be awarded to Frontier for the expansion of broadband services to 1,398 targeted addresses in Mason County. The project will include the installation of approximately 113 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband services in the project area.

Frontier Communications Corporation – Boone County Broadband Expansion
MBPS Program Funds: $671,385
Matching Funds : $1,993,688
Total Project Cost: $2,665,073
Estimated Fiber Mileage: 83
Targeted Addresses: 1,566
Project Summary: WV BIP MBPS funds will be awarded to Frontier for the expansion of broadband services to 1,566 targeted addresses in Boone County. The project will include the installation of approximately 83 miles of fiber infrastructure to provide broadband services in the project area.

Following this process for review, the governor also mentioned adjustments to 2 other previous grant awards:

Citynet: Shavers Fork, Helvetia, Crestview
LEAD Program Funds: $713,560
Matching Funds: $162,500 
Revised Total Project Cost: $876,060 
Estimated Fiber Mileage: 14.30
Targeted Addresses: 96

Lingo Networks: Eastern Pendleton County, Phase I
LEAD Program Funds: $2,257,834
Matching Funds: $297,000
Revised Total Project Cost: $2,554,834
Estimated Fiber Mileage: 31.13
Targeted Addresses: 86