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Justice signs executive order removing caps on funding broadband

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is signing an executive order to remove the regulatory caps from the state’s Broadband Infrastructure Loan Insurance program.

The governor says the caps must be removed because of broadband’s importance in making sure all West Virginians have access to virtual learning and telehealth.

“We all know that our state is so deficient in broadband its unbelievable,” Justice said.

Justice said the FCC created the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to efficiently fund the deployment of high-speed broadband across rural America. The program is expected to redirect billions of dollars over a 10-year period to finance broadband networks in “unserved rural areas” and connect millions more homes and businesses to broadband access.

The governor says the state’s $50 million cap, $10 million per entity, poses a challenge to the Mountain State’s ability to receive any of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund money.

“The caps must be removed because they are preventing the state from responding to the emergency we have on hand,” Justice said.

Justice is also directing the West Virginia Economic Development Authority to limit the application’s approval from the fund to no more than necessary for the first year of the program

The governor says he will send a bill to the legislature in the legislative session to replace the caps on the use of the fund. He says if the state receives the funding, the legislature will need to review and approve the legislature before the money is spent.

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