Senator Manchin promotes broadband access throughout W.Va.

United States Sen. Joe Manchin is working to bring broadband access to the entire state of West Virginia by introducing a bill that would work to accomplish this goal.

West Virginia Sen. Corey Palumbo discussed the importance of bringing broadband access to the state and the benefit it would be bring to West Virginia’s economy.

“I think that West Virginia seems like we are lagging behind in high speed broadband access for our population and I think it is of critical importance for people and businesses to have access to that,” Palumbo said.

Manchin released a press release Friday that said this bill would form a committee to work on ideas to apply broadband access across the state of West Virginia.

“The job of serving the Mountain State is far from done. All too often, broadband policies have failed states like West Virginia because voices from rural America have not been at the table,” Manchin said in his press release.

All of the supporters of this bill, including Manchin and Sen. Roger Wicker, wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission concerning the issue.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and Sen. Elizabeth Warren were a few of the other senators who signed the letter to the FCC urging support for the broadband issue.

The bill to the FCC says, “We support your efforts to close the digital divide for low-income and rural America.”

Manchin’s press release says the bill would support rural areas of West Virginia. The letter to the FCC says the broadband access would work to benefit not only the rural parts of West Virginia, but also all of rural America. 

This bill would specifically work to “provide mobile broadband service to rural and underserved areas,” according to Manchin’s press release.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito has also been working for better broadcast access in West Virginia and for the rural areas of the nation, as one of her main issues is broadband access, according to her website.

“A recent study by the Federal Communications Commission indicates that 56 percent of West Virginia residents do not have access to broadband services that … as many as 74 percent of West Virginias do not have access in rural areas,” Capito’s website said.

Capito has also released a letter she initiated, with the support from fellow senators, to President Donald Trump to extend broadband access across the nation, especially in rural areas.

Kylee Hurley can be contacted at [email protected]