|The FCC has increased their standard for what’s considered high-speed Internet from a speed of 4 megabits per second to 25 megabits per second.|
Calhoun and several other West Virginia counties have the worst "broadband" service in the state and around the nation.
According to the new benchmark, 74 percent of people living in rural parts of the state now lack access to high-speed broadband.
Six counties - Calhoun, Hardy, Pocahontas, Ritchie, Tucker and Upshur completely lack access to speeds to the current 25 Mbps.
West Virginia is a state that is near the bottom with broadband access.
Carriers like Frontier or satellite services will continue to be allowed to advertise 25 Mbps high speeds, even though they are not available all the time.
“The benchmark is not a minimum speed requirement and does not prevent broadband service providers from advertising or describing slower service as broadband,” the FCC said.
Frontier Communications widely advertises DSL plans with speeds up to 24 Mbps in many rural parts of the state — speeds that are now not considered sufficient under the new guidelines.
Frontier spokesman Dan Page said the FCC’s new benchmark focuses “not on what consumers need today and are willing to pay for today but rather on what the demand might be in five to 10 years.”
AT&T has also announced it plans to expand wireless Internet access to up to 300,000 households across the state following the company’s planned acquisition of AT&T.
Using what’s known as fixed wireless local loop technology, the company announced it would be able to provide speeds of between 15 to 20 Mbps to some rural households within three years.
Those speeds would have been considered high-speed broadband under the former FCC benchmark, but now fall below the FCC standard.
However, for the region’s largest cable Internet provider, Suddenlink, the new change will not apply, the company’s cable Internet speeds already exceed the new FCC standard.
See BROADBAND DREAMS: 74% RURAL WEST VIRGINIANS LACK BROADBAND BENCHMARK ACCESS - Improvements Not In Sight
BROADBAND PROMISES, BROADBAND DREAMS: Internet Remains Poor In WV