PUTNAM COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – The need for high speed internet has never been more important as thousands in the tri-state lean more heavily on it to keep working and studying from home due to the pandemic.

A study by highspeedinternet.com shows that West Virginia has the nation’s second slowest internet speeds. However, its hoped federal funding, and new broadband projects will get those speeds into high gear.

Courtesy: highspeedinternet.com

“The state of West Virginia is getting nearly 350 million dollars and that’s just the first round, with round two coming up again within a year and 18 months.” said, Delegate Linville (R) Cabell.

The Mountain State is getting some much needed funding, to help expand broadband across the state, which was a priority this legislative session.

Putnam County Commission President Ron Foster says after months of planning, they are now in the design phase of building their own fiber optic network. “Speed is going to be improved dramatically we’re going underground, we’re not going to have above ground. You’re service is going to be very much better, you’re going to have less down time. And you’re going to get what you pay for.” said, Foster.

Lawmakers say expanding broadband, will give residents more service options. ” Then providers have to compete for customers. Then you have choice and you have the ability to select a different provider. And those providers have a natural goal to beat out their competition.” said, Linville.

And bring internet service in the Mountain State more up to speed. Linville adds, “We’re going to get a whole lot of new people serviced. Plus, be able to get the highest technology which is fiber, to the home.”

Senator Manchin also urged internet providers like Verizon, AT&T and T-mobile to not leave West Virginians who rely on 2G, 3G internet services behind as the companies move to 5G service.