Thursday, February 19, 2015

W.Va. may join Ky. in creating broadband network

West Virginia may join Kentucky in investing tens of millions of dollars to deliver high-speed Internet access to Central Appalachia, visible as a patch of blue on the new national map that shows in yellow areas that have true broadband, with download speed of at least 25 megabits per second. (Click on image for larger version)
A West Virginia Senate committee approved a bill that "would authorize the construction of a state-owned 2,600-mile fiber network that Internet providers could tap into," Eric Eyre reports for The Charleston Gazette. "The companies would still have to build their own fiber lines to customer homes. The new network would cost about $78 million and provide faster Internet speeds and new service to rural parts of the state."

West Virginia’s largest Internet provider, Frontier Communications, opposes the bill, Eyre reports: "A Frontier executive told senators Wednesday the project could jeopardize the state’s bond rating and leave taxpayers on the hook. Under the bill, the state Water Development Authority would issue bonds to pay for the 'middle-mile' fiber network that would link rural communities."

Frontier said the network would duplicate its own and that of other providers, but Jim Martin, CEO of City Net, an Internet service provider, said Frontier won't let competitors use its network, Eyre reports.

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