Gov. Jim Justice recently announced the approval of $55.3 million in GigReady and Major Broadband Project Strategies Program (MBPS) funds to broadband infrastructure across the state, which included a momentous Greenbrier Broadband Expansion Project that will bring approximately 176 miles of fiber to over 5,000 addresses located within Greenbrier County at a cost of $17,254,651.
The project team consists of the Greenbrier County Commission, the West Virginia Development Office, Citynet as the Internet Service Provider (ISP), and Thompson & Litton of Princeton, West Virginia as the project Engineer, Steptoe and Johnson Law Firm, and Region Four Planning & Development Council. This team has been working diligently on this initiative and looks forward to seeing the project completed successfully.
Greenbrier County’s project will include 176 miles of buried and aerial fiber infrastructure. The project will primarily be placed along existing utility pole right-of-ways, chiefly utilizing AEP and First Energy utility infrastructure for routing where possible. The proposed quarter mile buried portion for the project near Caldwell, West Virginia is used to safely cross I-64. These aerial routes for the project will also provide the potential for additional interconnectivity with existing SEGRA, Shentel, Gigabeam, and Citynet networks.
The Greenbrier County Commission has been instrumental in coordinating the award process with the project team. Along with GigReady Program funds in the amount of $12,940,988 there is a local Greenbrier County investment of $4,313,663 in matching funds.
Affordable, highspeed broadband access in rural areas is essential for economic growth and directly linked to increased job growth, new business development, remote workplace opportunities and overall economic expansion and stability. Among many other benefits, it can increase quality of life by expanding citizens abilities to participate in remote learning, tele-medicine and online services of all types.
In response to this crucial announcement that is a monumental win and advancement for not only Greenbrier County but for West Virginia as a whole, Greenbrier County Commissioner Tammy Tincher stated, “the Commission is excited about the Broadband funding award and looking forward to continuing the work to begin the construction and implementation of this much needed service here in Greenbrier County and Southern West Virginia. We hope that this is the beginning for much needed future business and economic development.”