CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The governor of West Virginia signed an executive order on Thursday that aimed to ensure the state can access $766 million in federal funds over the next decade to expand long-sought broadband access in rural communities.
Gov. Jim Justice said the state will seek the money before an October deadline set by the Federal Communications Commission, which administers the $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. It aims to subsidize internet providers to expand broadband service over six million homes and businesses nationwide.
If successful, Justice said the investments in West Virginia would expand access to 121,000 households.
His order allows the state’s economic development authority to finance the projects. He said permanent legislation would be sent to the state legislature when it returns to session early next year.