CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Governor Jim Justice and Senator Shelley Moore Capito joined representatives from Facebook for an announcement regarding Facebook’s plans to build a fiber optic cable that will run through parts of West Virginia.
Sen. Capito says the project is expected to begin this year and will result in an around 275-mile route in West Virginia, providing the state with enhanced fiber optic connectivity.
Gov. Justice says the route will travel approximately 275 miles through West Virginia, starting at the western border, through the Kanawha Valley, then turn northwest to bring the fiber through the Appalachia region
Sen. Capito says she has worked for more than a year to make this project a reality, including discussing the issue directly with Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing.
“Making sure West Virginia has reliable, high-speed internet has been a priority of mine since I was first elected to Congress,” said Sen. Capito.
“Broadband development is absolutely critical to moving West Virginia forward,” Gov. Justice said. “An investment of this magnitude in our state is really big news and will help us continue to show the world how great West Virginia truly is.”
The construction, which is planned to last for roughly 18 to 24 months, will begin in Ashburn, Virginia, and end in Columbus, Ohio, connecting two major internet exchanges.
Sen. Capito says as a result of the project, broadband providers will be able to expand middle-mile networks into communities along the route, and it will establish West Virginia as a preferred route for fiber backbone construction.
“Access to broadband internet drives economic growth and opportunity, but there are still too many unserved communities, including here in West Virginia. We see the need for long haul fiber as an opportunity to provide critical infrastructure where it did not previously exist. To that end, we’ve designed our project to attract potential local and regional providers to expand broadband internet access for the communities surrounding our builds,” said Kevin Salvadori, Director of Network Investments, Facebook.
In October 2018, Sen. Capito and Gov. Justice announced the global network services provider, Zayo’s plans to make the first large investment of fiber infrastructure in West Virginia. Today’s announcement marks the second long-haul fiber announcement in West Virginia in less than a year.