|The check, which was made possible thanks to Gov. Justice’s West Virginia CARES Act Broadband Fund, doubles the $2,353,788 provided to Thundercloud earlier this month through one of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER grants.
The project includes beginning deployment of an 11.36 mile underground broadband fiber backbone, connecting the Village of Barboursville to the heart of downtown Huntington.
The expansion also includes the deployment of a last-mile, underground fiber ring, linking over 500 businesses to gigabit-speed broadband, creating the state’s first “Gigabit City” – delivering service that far exceeds current speeds.
Gov. Justice has made establishing broadband connectivity all across West Virginia one of his top initiatives. Last month, he signed an executive order that will allow West Virginia to leverage $766 million over the next 10 years to connect 121,000 West Virginia homes to world-class broadband, particularly those in currently underserved areas across the state – part of the $1 billion that is planned for broadband development throughout the Mountain State.
Local leaders also expect that the Thundercloud project will position Huntington to compete with cities across the world in the high-tech world of the future.
“We know that the leverage on this project is tremendous,” West Virginia Senator Robert H. Plymale said. “What you will see is, from the $2.3 million investment from the State and the $2.3 million from ARC, this will turn into a $15 million to $17 million-dollar project.