BROADBAND DREAMS FOR RURAL AREAS - New Declarations Bring Hope?

(05/20/2010)

West Virginia's Broadband Council has decided to form a committee to discuss whether the state needs to redefine broadband standards that reflect faster download speeds.

Most so-called broadband services to rural areas are not high-speed, with the government allowing providers to sell the services with the label.

The "broad band" service in many rural areas is slightly better than dial-up.

West Virginia has received more than $130 million in federal economic stimulus money to build a broadband network.

Frontier Communications plans to spend $48 million to expand broadband to 85 percent of its customers, if it completes a deal to purchase Verizon's landlines next month.

Verizon says it offers broadband to 60 percent of customers statewide, but most of those customers are clustered around more urban areas.

State Commerce Secretary Kelley Goes says she wants to make sure West Virginia residents and small business owners in remote areas don't get left behind.

Bringing "high speed broadband" to rural areas has been an ongoing proclamation for over 15 years.

Council members did acknowledge that it might not make financial sense for telecommunications companies to bring broadband to areas with few customers.


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