WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission adopted an order last week granting U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., the opportunity to participate in an effort to make sure broadband coverage maps of West Virginia are accurate.
Manchin submitted a waiver on May 15 to participate in the Mobility Fund Phase II challenge process in order to make sure data collection records accurately showed coverage available to West Virginians.
Mobility Fund Phase II was created to provide up to $4.53 billion worth of support to build 4G LTE service for rural areas that lack coverage. Eastern counties and parts of western and southern West Virginia are considered eligible areas.
Manchin said in the request, while he is not a government entity or service provider entitled to the challenge process, internet access is an interest of his public service due to legislative work and outreach on the matter.
The FCC approved the request on May 25, saying Manchin’s request was in good cause.
Manchin said in a statement Tuesday the waiver allows him to engage in the challenge process and work to increase internet coverage as needed.
“As a lifelong West Virginian and proud public servant who tries to visit every county in the state at least once each year, I have driven nearly every mile of road in our state and experienced first-hand the loss of broadband coverage along the way,” he said.
A map of eligible is available at the FCC’s website. If anyone has questions about the challenge process or the map, Manchin said they should reach out to his office at 202-224-3954 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.