Let's Get WV Connected! Broadband in West Virginia

Funding/Financing/Money

Why is funding needed? Existing telecoms and ISP’s won’t spend the money to bring the service to rural areas because there are not enough potential customers, not enough sales, and not enough revenue to cover the cost of stringing wire or fiber. In other words, unfavorable ROI.

The Fix

If various groups can leverage government money in the form of grants or grants mixed with donations and/or loans, then this money can build the infrastructure needed (towers, wires, fiber runs) and then the telecoms/ISPs can lease or buy connectivity over existing wire/fiber. Sort of like a private/public partnership: build a public road and every can drive on it.

Sources

Here’s a list of potential funding sources. We’ll expound on these sources later, but for now, here is an incomplete list. Also, each of these sources comes with varying requirements. The magic happens when you blend requirements of one source with another to fully fund a project.

Articles (links) About Funding

Trails, textbooks and towers: Here are the ‘broadband’ expenses W.Va. Gov. Justice charged to the CARES Act

West Virginia joins multi-state lawsuit against Google for anti-competitive conduct


RDOF – Rural Development Opportunity Fund (federal funding)

The RDOF is a $20.4 Billion fund, auctioned by the FCC to give funding to rural broadband initiatives. See: https://www.fcc.gov/auction/904 and https://www.rdof.com for more on this fund.

RDOF is a total of $20.4 Billion; funded to ISP/Telecoms over 10 years; ISP has to serve every customer in block at end of 5 years; can be used for backbone.


USDA (ReConnect) Grant

USDA is last mile really, but works with 1000-1200 feet from fiber, serves customers along the fiber line. USDA says a project must exclude RDOF areas.


Small Cities Block Grant (SCBG)

ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission)

EDA (Economic Development Administration)

CARES Act – $50 million

RUS

(Rural Utilties Services – a division of Dept. of Agriculture)

WVEDA

(West Virginia Economic Development Authority) Loan Program

and Loan Guarantee Program

WVIJDC

(West Virginia Infrastrcuture Jobs Development Council) Loan and Loan Forgiveness Program

Connect America Fund

Connect America Mobility Fund

Remote Areas Fund – $100,000 million per year

Healthcare Connect Fund

Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program

Telecommunication Infrastructure Loan Program

Distance Learning Telemedicine Grants