Funding approved for 8 million dollar broadband loop in Raleigh County

Funding approved for 8 million dollar broadband loop in Raleigh County
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 2:34 PM EDT
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GHENT, W.Va. (WVVA) - A new round of grants were awarded as part of Governor Jim Justice’s billion dollar broadband strategy on Friday.

Raleigh, Summers, Greenbrier, and Monroe counties are recipients of the latest round of funding.

In Raleigh County, leaders plan to build an 8-million dollar broadband loop starting at the I-77, I-64 divide and circle around to Ghent.

According to Raleigh County Commission Pres. Dave Tolliver, work could start as early as January on the 106-mile loop. “People are going to be really happy with the Gigabeam broadband.”

Commissioners said the lack of connectivity in the area was especially evident during the Pandemic, when students were required to learn from home without the internet.

Businesses, too, have struggled. Josh Faber is the General Mgr. of Winterplace Ski Resort. “In the wintertime, we’re really busy and the load on our system can be overwhelming,” he said in reference to the connectivity issues.

In years past, WVVA News has reported on a number of potential businesses and industries expressing an interest in developing land along I-77 and Ghent, but the projects have been held back by the limited infrastructure.

Faber hopes the new broadband connection will not only help existing customers, but lure in some new ones. “The challenges were tough and have been tough for a few years. With broadband we can go to IP based phone systems where we don’t have to worry about the phone lines. And offering Wi-fi to our customers is huge.”

As part of the same grant, Summers County will receive nearly four million dollars for fiber running from Mountview to Bellpoint. Monroe County will receive nearly 2 million for fiber running along the Seneca Trail and Green Valley Road. Greenbrier County will also receive nearly 13-million dollars for broadband expansion.