Commission Urges Residents of Raleigh to Respond to Internet Poll | State and region

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Raleigh County Commission Chairman David Tolliver is urging every county resident to help improve internet service in southern West Virginia by responding to a survey by October 15.

The survey is sponsored by Appalachian Power, which hired the Virginia-based Blue Ridge Surveying and Mapping Company to complete the field where Raleigh County residents have reliable broadband service and where they don’t. not.

“It is vitally important that citizens get a copy,” Tolliver said at the regular committee meeting on Tuesday.

The investigation will appear on the Raleigh Commission website, raleighcounty.org, and is also available on the websites of local media companies, including WVVA TV. Users can rank their service on a scale of 1 to 10.

Tolliver said at least 400 Raleigh residents must complete the survey by Oct. 15 to show where service is needed most in the targeted section of the county.

West Virginia’s Broadband Bill of 2021 speeds up processes for Internet service providers to install fiber broadband along rights-of-way during Division of Highways (DOH) projects and improves regulations ” dig once ”that allow multiple Internet service providers to install fiber broadband without digging multiple trenches.

Based on the survey results, Appalachian Power will allow broadband companies to place cables on utility poles owned by Appalachian. These cables will be used to provide better high-speed Internet service to homes in southern West Virginia.

Appalachian Power to Use Raleigh County Survey to Help Six Counties, Including Raleigh, Save ‘Thousands of Dollars’ as Part of Region 1 Planning and Development Council Plan to Expand Broadband .

Tolliver explained that Region 1 is expanding broadband in phases. The current investigation will help develop the “middle mile”.

The intermediate mile in broadband delivery refers to the segment of a network that connects a network operator’s core to its local office. In County Raleigh, the “middle mile” segment will encompass the communities from Ghent to Sophia.

Once the “average mile” is completed, Tolliver said, Region 1 will be able to begin expanding broadband to the “last mile,” which involves providing internet to the homes of residents in underserved areas of the region. .

He said it was vitally important that the Middle Mile be completed as the first step in providing broadband throughout County Raleigh. He said internet service is sporadic in parts of the county and the investigation will show those areas.

“We learned that. And ApCo is paying for this investigation,” Tolliver said.

“We urge the people of Raleigh County to get this investigation,” he said. “It takes about two minutes to complete this survey, and if people in the area of, say, Helen in Rhodell from Route 3 to Route 1, if you don’t complete this survey, we don’t know where to spend the money to install fiber optic cables on ApCo poles. “

In June 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), an initiative designed to invest $ 20.4 billion in the development of rural broadband networks, including those in West Virginia. .

The grant will be allocated to internet providers over the next 10 years to help bridge the digital divide in rural America, according to the FCC. Starlink, a Space X company that provides satellite Internet service, has won an RDOF contract in West Virginia. The biggest was Frontier, which won $ 247.6 million in RDOF cash in West Virginia.

West Virginia will receive $ 8 million per year for the next 10 years for broadband development.

Reliable internet connectivity is an essential service, which prompted state lawmakers to pass a law in April to tackle the expansion of broadband. The law, which came into effect on May 27, offers consumer protection and defines “underserved” areas of the state.

The law creates a dispute resolution process, with the Public Service Commission (PSC) dealing with complaints arising from agreements between companies.

Commissioners Linda Epling and Greg Duckworth joined Tolliver in approving a drawdown of $ 13,789.50 from the Abandoned Mining Land Reclamation (AML) program to build the White Oak Water Project, from this fall.

The grant will allow the county to provide a public water service to the Summers County line, Tolliver said.

Tolliver grew up in a mining community in neighboring Wyoming County and didn’t have a reliable water service as a child. Since taking office, he has led an effort to ensure that every part of Raleigh County has a public water system.

“The only two water projects we have left are Joe Cooper Farm Road and Ellis Ridge,” he said at the meeting.

Once these two water supply projects are completed, all of Raleigh County will have a public water supply service, Tolliver added.

In other actions:

• West Virginia Rep. Chris Toney (R-Raleigh) presented a check for $ 5,000 to the Trap Hill Little League Commission. Earlier in the meeting, the Commission approved a grant application that Trap Hill Little League had made to the county in the amount of $ 5,000.

Toney presented a check for $ 5,000 to fund the county grant.

“Dude, I appreciate that,” Tolliver said. “I know they like it over there.

• The Commission approved a petition from Mills Floor Covering in Sophia for a one acre parcel at 750 Robert C. Byrd Drive to be rezoned from Rural Residential to B-1, which is commercial. The company plans to add an exhibition floor to the property, as well as an ice cream stand.

• The Commission approved the courthouse grant applications and a resolution that allowed Tolliver to act on behalf of the county to enter into contracts with the West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority. The authority is a state agency created by the legislature to help the county government fund changes to existing courthouse facilities or to build new courthouses.

County governments can apply for grants on an annual basis. The authority had prepared a grant application to be signed by Tolliver, which was signed on Tuesday.

• The Commission approved an amendment to the contract between the Raleigh Commission and Jimmy Miller, who owns a company that provides the county with projects involving GPS services for those confined to home. County attorney Bill Roop said the addendum was attached to Miller’s original contract with the Commission.


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