Behind the Times: West Virginia Tries to Catch Up with Connectivity

In an annual state meeting of the West Virginia Chamber at The Greenbrier, state leaders and wireless advocates discussed how to bring the state inline with the rest of the nation when it comes to connectivity, reported The Register-Herald.

According to Beth Cooley, the senior director of state legislative affairs at CTIA, West Virginia is at a disadvantage when it comes to implementing new technologies. Current infrastructure in the state has an increased data load, causing a bog-down, said Cooley. Small cells could alleviate some of this congestion, though West Virginia has not yet passed legislation making it easier to deploy the devices, she added.

Additionally, fiber needs to be laid in the state, according to Robert Hinton, the chairman of the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council. “One of the things we have to know is even though 5G is a wireless component, it always is going to be reliant on a fiber backbone infrastructure,” he said. Hinton went on to praise the state legislature for opening up highway rights of way to fiber installation, calling it a move in the right direction.

“There’s not one person or one company that’s going to come into a community and solve this problem,” Hinton said. “It’s going to take a grassroots effort.”

According to Hinton, a good portion of that effort could be done through public-private partnerships with local governments and economic development agencies. Taking advantage of public funding options to help mitigate the cost of private companies, this will enable the deployment of broadband services in rural areas which may not have had enough return on investment otherwise, reported the Herald.

“When it comes to this topic…there’s a lot of things to be done and there’s a lot of work to be done,” said Hinton.

September 5, 2018

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