Broadband Equity, Access & Deployment Initial Proposal Volume 2 released for public comment; public meeting set for Nov. 1 at Upshur County Public Library

The West Virginia Department of Economic Development, Office of Broadband published the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Initial Proposal Volume 2 for review and comment.

Comments will be accepted for 30 days, beginning October 20, 2023. The document is available here.

The WVDED in partnership with Region VII Planning and Development Council will host a public meeting to provide details about the Initial Proposal Volume 2 on November 1, 2023, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm, at the Upshur County Public Library at 1150 Route 20 South Rd. in Buckhannon, WV.

Volume 2 follows the requirements of the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) to address the following topics: Local coordination, subgrantee selection for deployment and non-deployment, implementation activities, labor standards, workforce readiness, provisions for minority and women-owned businesses, cost and barrier reduction, climate assessment, low-cost broadband service, regulatory issues, middle-class affordability, and other components as required by NTIA.

The WVDED and the Regional Planning and Development Councils have previously collaborated on multiple broadband planning initiatives and performed public outreach meetings earlier this year. This meeting will also provide general updates on the State’s BEAD and Digital Equity Programs.

The WVDED is responsible for deploying local and federal broadband funds, including $1.2 billion in federal Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) funding for broadband development in West Virginia.

BEAD is administered by NTIA. The BEAD application requires several steps: a Five-Year Action Plan, Initial Proposal Volume I, Initial Proposal Volume 2, followed by a Final Proposal. The BEAD Program also requires states to coordinate efforts with Digital Equity planning, workforce development, and capacity building.

Public Comment Sought

WVDED seeks public comment to ensure that this document reflects the needs of West Virginians. All members of the public are encouraged to provide feedback on the contents of the Initial Proposal Volume 2 via:

  • Online Comment Form, found here.
  • Printable Comment Form, which can be printed here and mailed to the WVDED
  • at 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Building 3, Room 600, Charleston, West
  • Virginia 25305. Comments must be postmarked by November 20, 2023.
  • Copies of the Initial Proposal Volume 2 will be available at each of the State’s 11
  • Regional Planning and Development Councils (RPDCs).

The BEAD program will support West Virginia’s universal broadband access vision to, “Achieve universal broadband coverage and digital equity throughout the State through aggressive broadband deployment goals and a commitment to closing the digital divide through robust equity and inclusion initiatives.”

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