Senator Shelley Moore Capito was at Buckhannon-Upshur High School Monday morning to announce a $3 million grant to expand broadband access over a large swath of Upshur, Barbour and Randolph Counties. The project includes construction on 26 new towers, and upgrades to 9 more, all in what Capito called new national push by the country.
"This is a USDA Department of Agriculture effort. You know, back in the 1930s, the effort was to put electricity into every home. Now that effort is to put connectivity and broadband deployment into every home," said Capito.
But broadband access isn't just a convenience. It also has serious implications for family budgets around the area. Many families, including those with school-age students who often need Internet access, can expect better access at a fraction of the cost.
"What that means for somebody that's living in one of those areas the doesn't have connectivity is that with this project, they can go from a fifty dollars or sixty dollar a month fee to twenty-five dollars a month for an internet connection," said Rob Hinton, executive director of the Upshur County Development Authority.
And whether it's students having better information for homework, or businesses having better access to the world over the Web, the new broadband towers can open up the world for those they cover.
"This opens up opportunities. This opens up opportunities for everyone that's here because you can be anywhere, anytime, from anywhere, and that's what we want to do. We want to be anywhere from any place at any time, and so that's what connectivity will bring," Hinton said.