|West Virginia legislators have been told that Gov. Joe Manchin may be far from his goal of statewide high-speed Internet access by 2010, but he still as an ace in the hole in the form of high-tech powerhouse Cisco Systems Inc.|
Cisco, headed by West Virginia native John Chambers, continues to aid the state for free, through a partnership forged by the governor earlier this year.
Carolyn Purcell, a Cisco consultant said "Broadband will be important in providing the kind of education that people will need in the 21st century."
Cisco is helping the state map out a game plan for expanding broadband access.
Calhoun has broadband provided by Frontier Telephone, using access to the company's substations around the county, but with each service area created by a substation, there remains lots of holes where service is not available.
The service costs about $50 a month, compared with dial-up which charges $15-$25 a month.
Satellite service is available with a much greater investment.
The Public Service Commission estimated earlier this year that about 34.6 percent of West Virginia households have broadband Internet service, but it is still widely unavailable in rural areas.
China has taken broadband access to most of the country's remote villages.
The Communications Workers of America union measured the state's median download speed at 1.12 megabits, one of the slowest rates in the USA.
John Unger, D-Berkeley, has questioned whether the state would be farther along if Gov. Manchin had signed the Electronic Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Act passed this year.
Manchin passed-over the measure, saying it would interfere with the Cisco alliance.