Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today announced that West Virginia will be included in the new National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) initiative that will help make sure the national broadband availability map is accurate. This is especially important to rural states like West Virginia and the seven other states included the program.
“Our state, the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council and my office have been leading the effort to make sure that communities in West Virginia without broadband coverage are accurately reflected in broadband availability maps. As the only Member of Congress to formally challenge a broadband coverage map, I have been working hard to ensure these maps depict the real-world experiences of West Virginians so that our state is in a better position to receive the critical funding it needs to deploy broadband. I am proud of the work being done by the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council, and I look forward to seeing the results of this partnership,” Senator Manchin said.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 directed NTIA to update the national broadband availability map using its previously developed state partnerships. Senator Manchin helped to secure this provision as a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. The initial eight state partners were chosen because they reflect geographic diversity, participate in NTIA’s State Broadband Leaders Network, have active state broadband plans or programs, and were willing to contribute data that can be combined with nationwide data sources to give policymakers a deeper understanding of broadband availability.
NTIA expects to seek participation from additional states, territories and federally recognized tribes that have broadband programs or related data-collection efforts. The initial map will include available nationwide data for every state combined with state-level data from the eight states.