Reconnecting McDowell project bringing broadband to county - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Reconnecting McDowell project bringing broadband to county

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WELCH -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, joined by Shentel executives, Reconnecting McDowell project leaders, legislators, county and local leaders, announced 90 percent of McDowell County homes will have access to high speed broadband Internet by the end of the year.  With a $9 million capital investment, Shentel will lay hundreds of miles of fiber optic cable connections directly to 10,000 McDowell County homes.

"This announcement brings new meaning to the words 'Reconnecting McDowell'," Gov. Tomblin said. "Shentel's plan to provide broadband access to McDowell County residents is an investment in the community and its future."

"We believe that our investment can help set the conditions for a bright and positive future in McDowell County," said Earle MacKenzie, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Shentel. "We have witnessed the importance of broadband in other rural communities as it provided enhanced educational opportunities, and assisted in creating new economic development opportunities, and are happy to help facilitate the same for McDowell County."

In addition to this investment, Shentel is also a partner in Reconnecting McDowell, a private-public partnership working to reinvigorate education, the economy and community in McDowell County.

"This is a huge step toward connecting students and families to the information superhighway, and Reconnecting McDowell is honored to partner with Governor Tomblin and Shentel on this initiative," said Bob Brown, Coordinator of Reconnecting McDowell.

Shentel is a 110 year old regional telecommunications company that focuses serving rural markets in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.  Shentel began serving West Virginia with broadband, video, and phone services in 2009 through a series of acquisitions and has invested over $35 million since that time in bringing advanced telecommunications and broadband services to its more than 25,000 subscribers statewide.  Shentel specializes in serving rural markets throughout the mid-Atlantic region and employs 220 West Virginians.

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