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Manchin announces $12.7M broadband expansion

WASHINGTON — American Rescue Plan Funds of $12.7 Million will be used to expand broadband access through 19 schools and libraries.

On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced $12,760,030 from the American Rescue Plan for 19 West Virginia schools and libraries as part of the second round of the Emergency Connectivity Fund.

This funding is distributed through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help schools and libraries purchase laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and broadband connections for students, staff and library visitors.

In September, Manchin announced $4,188,368 in the first round of the Emergency Connectivity Fund. To date, West Virginia has received $16,948,398 for 30 schools and libraries from the Emergency Connectivity Fund.

“Affordable, reliable broadband access is essential for West Virginians to complete their homework, attract new businesses, compete for good-paying jobs and spur economic development across the state. Throughout the last year, I have successfully fought to provide short-term solutions for broadband connectivity during the pandemic, including hotspots,” said Manchin. “The American Rescue Plan continues to deliver historic investments in broadband access across the Mountain State through the Emergency Connectivity Fund and other programs. To date, the Emergency Connectivity Fund has invested nearly $17 million in 30 West Virginia schools and libraries to purchase laptops, hotspots and other materials needed for Wi-Fi access. I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of this important investment, and I will continue fighting to deliver affordable, reliable broadband access to all of West Virginia.”

The Emergency Connectivity Fund was authorized in the American Rescue Plan earlier this year to provide $7.17 billion to expand distance learning and connectivity around the country, including key provisions authored by Manchin which prioritized rural areas and made these funds fully reimbursable to ensure rural states like West Virginia do not have to bear the burden of higher costs. The FCC will continue to review applications and future funding awards are expected in coming weeks. The second round of applications through the Emergency Connectivity Fund closed October 13th.

Individual awards listed below:

* $8,609,505.96: West Virginia State Department of Education

* $4,505,338: Fayette County Schools

* $3,121,074: Wood County Schools

* $549,511: Monongalia County Schools

* $392,508: Jackson County Schools

* $41,075: Calhoun County Schools

* $1,224,282.62: Mingo County School District

* $616, 335: Cabell County Schools

* $630,480.51: Clay County School District

* $601,962.88: Jefferson County School District

* $421,860: Mercer County School District

* $235,967.50: Preston County School District

* $184,571: Brooke County School District

* $89,078.40: Kanawha County School District

* $64,900: Summers County School District

* $32,007.40: Our Lady of Peace School

* $30,426: Hardy County School District

* $9,833.60: Fairmont Catholic School

* $7,056: Shepherdstown Public Library

* $1,764: Raleigh County Public Library

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To download a PDF of a timeline of Senator Machin’s broadband efforts, visit https://tinyurl.com/22he7se9.

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