Nearly Half Of West Virginia Counties Seek Broadband Grants

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A dozen applications have been submitted for broadband infrastructure improvements in West Virginia after the state Development Office announced an expansion of a block grant program.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports regional development councils and county commissions representing 27 of the state’s 55 counties are seeking about $1.6 million in grants. Most of the counties involved are in southern West Virginia.

The Development Office said last summer it is expanding its Community Development Block Grant program, which has typically been used to pay for water and sewer projects in the state.

An announcement on what projects will receive funding is expected early next year.

A report released by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin showed a half-million West Virginians lack access to high-speed internet service, including half of those living in rural areas.