GRANT COUNTY, W.Va. (WHSV) — With the help of a federal grant, Grant County may soon see improved internet connections.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced on Thursday that the state has secured a total of $150,000 in federal grant funding, split between Jefferson and Grant counties, to improve broadband and high-speed internet connectivity.
“I’m just so incredibly happy that we’ve been able to give out millions and millions of dollars for these kinds of projects all across the state,” Gov. Justice said. “We want to connect West Virginia like never before to high-speed internet opportunities that will allow us to bring in new people and businesses like you can’t possibly imagine and allow the positive momentum that we’ve built, boosting the economy, to continue.”
Those grants are part of $13.1 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars that have been dedicated to projects throughout West Virginia this year by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The $150,000 that will be distributed within Jefferson and Grant counties is the combined total of two separate grants, with each county receiving single awards in the amount of $75,000.
Jefferson County's grant will be used to conduct a county-wide assessment to determine the region’s existing broadband-level service, as well as to develop strategies on how to implement high-speed internet accessibility.
In Grant County, the money will be used similarly to conduct a feasibility study for high-speed internet capability for the entire county, as well as to provide key strategies for both short-term and long-term planning as broadband is established in the region.
According to the governor's announcement, "as a border county with the state of Maryland and its proximity to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Grant County leaders aim to use this grant to set up a framework to build robust broadband solutions to attract new businesses and visitors."
The project aims to improve connectivity to more than 4,100 households and businesses in Grant County.
“These projects will help thousands upon thousands of hard-working West Virginians to give them another leg-up toward the jobs of the future,” Gov. Justice said. “I truly envision the next great technology company being started right here in West Virginia thanks to these incredible opportunities that have been a long time coming for our people.”
A total of 19 different communities throughout West Virginia have been awarded similar CDBG grants for this year, combining for $13.1 million in federal funding.