Manchin, Capito applaud decision to include W.Va. in broadband mapping project

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U.S. Capitol

MANCHIN’S RELEASE:

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) recently announced that West Virginia will be included in the new National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) initiative that will help make sure the national broadband availability map is accurate. This is especially important to rural states like West Virginia and the seven other states included the program. 

“Our state, the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council and my office have been leading the effort to make sure that communities in West Virginia without broadband coverage are accurately reflected in broadband availability maps. As the only Member of Congress to formally challenge a broadband coverage map, I have been working hard to ensure these maps depict the real-world experiences of West Virginians so that our state is in a better position to receive the critical funding it needs to deploy broadband. I am proud of the work being done by the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council, and I look forward to seeing the results of this partnership,” Senator Manchin said.   

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 directed NTIA to update the national broadband availability map using its previously developed state partnerships. Senator Manchin helped to secure this provision as a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.  The initial eight state partners were chosen because they reflect geographic diversity, participate in NTIA’s State Broadband Leaders Network, have active state broadband plans or programs, and were willing to contribute data that can be combined with nationwide data sources to give policymakers a deeper understanding of broadband availability.

NTIA expects to seek participation from additional states, territories and federally recognized tribes that have broadband programs or related data-collection efforts. The initial map will include available nationwide data for every state combined with state-level data from the eight states. 

CAPITO’S RELEASE:

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) applauded the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announcement that it is collaborating with eight states to broaden and update the national broadband availability map. The eight states—West Virginia, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah—will contribute data and other inputs to the map. 

“As we work to close the digital divide in rural America and other underserved areas across the country, this is another positive step in the right direction,” said Senator Capito, co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus. “Accurate availability maps are absolutely crucial for informed decision-making, and West Virginia will undoubtedly benefit from being a key player in this process to expand access. I’m glad to see our efforts to deliver NTIA the resources to move forward with important projects like this one are paying off, and I will continue working through my Capito Connect program to make even more progress in better connecting our communities.”  

“In order to ensure that all Americans have access to broadband, we need a more precise picture of the current services and infrastructure that are available,” said David Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator. “NTIA’s work on an updated map, in partnership with these initial states, will help policymakers around the country make better decisions as they devise broadband expansion plans.” 

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 directed NTIA to update the national broadband availability map using its previously developed state partnerships. The initial eight state partners were chosen because they reflect geographic diversity, participate in NTIA’s State Broadband Leaders Network, have active state broadband plans or programs, and were willing to contribute data that can be combined with nationwide data sources to give policymakers a deeper understanding of broadband availability. As then-chair of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Capito helped secure funding in the legislation for this project. 

“We are thrilled that West Virginia has been selected to join NTIA in its Broadband Mapping Program.  Accurate mapping is critical in guiding investment decisions and pushing connectivity into rural areas. We are eager to assist NTIA in the development of broadband maps that more accurately portray connectivity within West Virginia’s communities,” said Rob Hinton, chairman of the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council. 

NTIA expects to seek participation from additional states, territories, and federally recognized tribes that have broadband programs or related data-collection efforts. The initial map will include available nationwide data for every state combined with state-level data from the eight states.