CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Many West Virginia households still do not have access to the Internet, because the state’s mountains and valleys make it difficult to connect. But one group is determined to make some headway.

The Central Appalachian Regional Network, a non-profit, held its Broadband Summit on Thursday in Charleston.

One of the organizers was Rev. James Patterson of Institute, who said the event was about: “Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there as it related to broadband in the state of West Virginia?”

The speakers focused on programming and policies and ways to make sure every resident of West Virginia has access to the Internet.

“The goal is what Gov. Joe Manchin said when he was governor and that is 100-percent, affordable, high-speed, quality broadband for 100 percent for the citizens of the state of West Virginia,” Patterson said.

CARN, which serves West Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia, has already outlined four policy recommendations including: institutionalize broadband priorities in state government, state funding for broadband investments, regulation by the Public Service Commission and improve take-up rates through digital literacy programs and access to computers for moderate to low-income families.

As for the quality of broadband service in West Virginia, Patterson said there are two predominate views.

“People that have it are saying, ‘It’s great and I couldn’t survive without it and people who don’t have it are saying ‘When will we get it?”

Patterson recently received an email from a McDowell County man working in Mongolia at a mine site in the Gobi Desert. The West Virginia native was worried whether he would have access to the Internet in McDowell County once he returns from Mongolia later this year.

Patterson reasoned if there’s Internet service in the Gobi Desert, there’s no reason why parts of West Virginia are still without.

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  • James

    Internet by fiber from Frontier? Dream on! Their DSL is slow or start and stop. No great expectations here as long as the legislature can't require more.

  • hughes knight

    This group won't last long. Frontier will cut their legs off.

  • Hersh

    I see where Frontier, I believe, has laid fiber optic cable from up near Durbin all the way to near Huttonsville and possibly Beverly. Also, recently I noticed there is new fiber that goes from Pleasant Creek, just north of Philippi, up toward Grafton, Webster and Simpson. There has been tremendous progress in my region over the last couple years since the Verizon/Frontier transaction. Also, we just put in new broadband service through Frontier satellite and they partner with Dish Network to bundle your long distance phone, which was costing almost 50$/month, internet, which used to cost around 65$/month with HughesNet, and TV, which was also about 65$/month, starting at $75 for all three with the basic package for new Dish customers. For existing customers or upgraded TV tiers or larger download capacities, it's probably closer to 100$+/month for all three. The technician also said they expect to have hardwired broadband in my area within a year, which is probably the fiber I mentioned coming from Pleasant Creek toward Arden. In summary, there has been some legitimate progress made and I live in a very rural area. It also seems very reasonable. Just my 2 cents.

    • David

      How much did Frontier pay you to post your "2 cents"?

  • C.Hoffman

    The word not mentioned in the article is affordability. It doesn't matter if you can't afford it.

  • Ax Man

    By the time West Virginia gets broadband up to speed, it will be obsolete.