12,000 homes in rural WV could get broadband

By Eric Eyre, Statehouse Reporter for the Gazette-Mail

Thousands of West Virginians in rural areas do without high-speed broadband Internet.

They pay through the nose for choppy satellite Internet service. They get frustrated with dial-up service. Or they forgo the Internet altogether.

But legislation advancing through the West Virginia Senate offers a glimmer of hope.

The Senate bill aims to bring broadband service to about 12,000 homes and businesses in West Virginia's most remote areas. Places like Randolph, Pocahontas and Nicholas counties — and rural communities in every other county in the state.

"There's currently no program to bring broadband to those folks truly at the end of the line," said Billy Jack Gregg, a consultant with Frontier Communications, West Virginia's largest Internet provider. "There are still large areas throughout the state that do not have access to broadband of any speed."

The legislation (SB 16) would provide tax credits to companies that bring high-speed Internet service to homes and businesses that don't have it now. The firms would receive a $500 tax credit for each new location. The state would award no more than $1 million a year in tax credits for all Internet providers combined. The tax breaks are expected to cost the state about $6.1 million over the life of the program — about six years....

READ REST OF STORY: 12,000 homes in rural WV could get broadband By Eric Eyre, Statehouse Reporter for the Gazette-Mail

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