Gov. Jim Justice today announced the preliminary approval of over $20.8 million in grant funding to begin a series of six massive broadband infrastructure projects across the state through the Major Broadband Project Strategies (MBPS) program.

The MBPS program is a branch of Gov. Justice’s Billion-Dollar Broadband Strategy – a plan to invest over $1 billion in state and federal funds to make broadband connectivity available for the first time to 200,000 West Virginia homes and businesses.

Today’s announcement marks the first round of grants awarded through the MBPS program. The approved projects will result in more than 628 miles of new fiber infrastructure, providing broadband connectivity to 5,849 homes and businesses in West Virginia.

“I could not be more proud – my Billion-Dollar Broadband Strategy is really on the move,” Gov. Justice said. “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.

“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 state’s total investment of $20,845,157 will leverage an additional $13,279,926 from other funding sources, for a total broadband infrastructure investment of $34,125,083 for this round alone.

factoring in all funding sources combined, a grand total investment of over $61.2 million has been committed to undertake 16 major broadband infrastructure projects throughout West Virginia. These projects will result in over 1,000 miles of new fiber infrastructure, providing high-speed broadband access to over 11,000 new homes and businesses.

“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,” Gov. Justice said. “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.”

Projects announced today include those received under the MBPS program’s first application round, which closed on Feb. 19, 2022. Additional approvals will be announced soon.
Broadband projects receiving MBPS program funds listed below:

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.