WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — A plastic connector and a blinking light represents our gateway to modern life.

We’ve been in the internet age for decades at this point.

But if there’s one thing COVID taught us, it’s that having a solid connection is not optional—and that point isn’t lost on our lawmakers.

Education. Health care. Tourism. Economic development for remote work.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R)-West Virginia

For our schools, for our education system, our communication, our industry, you can’t have industrial development and growth if you don’t have broadband.

Rep. David McKinley, (R)-West Virginia

That’s why providers joined state and national leaders at Oglebay Resort, to discuss the plans to plug West Virginia in.

The federal Office of Internet Connectivity was also present to hear about the state’s unserved and underserved areas.

Even a site as well-known as Oglebay could benefit from increased broadband support.

I wanted to come to Wheeling because I have heard repeatedly, we did our ‘Share Your Stories’ on my website to say, ‘are you having problems, tell us about your problems,’ and it’s obvious that this area still has some great need.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R)-West Virginia

Capito and McKinley both say the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act holds the key to expanding internet.

Out of the $42 billion it allocates for the entire country, our state is shooting for about $1 billion of it, or 2.5%.

They say that would put us on a level playing field with other connected states.

We have a great opportunity through the infrastructure bill, every house, every business should be served.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R)-West Virginia

As for why this is taking so long…Congressman McKinley points to our disadvantage in the House of Representatives.

Larger cities have long since had the technology that’s just now reaching more secluded areas.

Los Angeles County has 22 Congressmen. Chicago has 15 Congressmen. New York has 16. Montana has one.

Rep. David McKinley, (R)-West Virginia

With a coverage map on the way, soon broadband won’t be kept to the population centers, but will make us all a click away from each other—just like the World Wide Web promised so many years ago.