Broadband in WV

The West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council is commissioned to enhance the development of plans, processes and procedures for extending broadband access into underserved and unserved areas of the state.

How will this impact the day-to-day lives of West Virginians?

Those individuals and businesses with older dial-up internet services will see an immediate difference in online media capability with broadband; specifically the speed of viewing web pages, videos and uploading e-mail attachments and other data. To those individuals and businesses which acquire broadband, the potential of broadband services creates opportunities. Broadband give users the ability to connect people and ideas at a rate comparable to the rest of the nation. This ability gives rural West Virginia access to the highest levels of education, healthcare, retail shopping and many other quality-of-life services. These benefits include:

Economic Development – Broadband provides access to regional, national and worldwide markets, enhancing the opportunities for current businesses, while providing the infrastructure to create new businesses and technology-based companies in areas of West Virginia that have traditionally lacked such business and employment opportunities.

Education – All levels of West Virginia’s educational system will benefit. High speed connectivity offers the promise of remote class instruction, shared course offerings and a much greater range of media materials available online. Broadband can overcome geographical and financial barriers to provide a wide range of educational and cultural opportunities.

Healthcare – Telemedicine has the potential to revolutionize health care in rural America by allowing instant retrieval of health records, video interface, improved emergency response and the possibility of ‘e-visits’ that connect health professionals and specialists to patients in real time -- at home -- facilitating the highest quality of medical care to rural populations.

What is Broadband?

The definition of broadband, or high-speed Internet access, is constantly changing, however, the term is typically used to describe Internet service that is faster than traditional dial-up Internet access. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) currently defines broadband as speeds that move data at a rate of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.

How is broadband different from dial-up service?

  • Provides higher-speed of data transmission and access to web sites than dial-up.
  • Provides access to desired services such as online video, streaming media, VoIP (Voice over Internet phone), interactive sites and secure business applications.
  • Broadband is always on and does not block phone lines when in use.

Talking Speed in Bits

  • Bandwidth – Amount of data that can flow in a given amount of time.
  • Kbps - Kilobits or thousands of bits per second.
  • Mbps – Megabits or millions of bits per second.
  • Gbps – Gigabits or billions of bits per second

Why Speed Matters in West Virginia

When residents and business representatives discuss broadband, or high-speed Internet, they often do so in relationship to applications.

Broadband provides many essential applications through the rapid transmission of voice, data, and video over a variety of platforms, including but not limited to DSL, Cable Modem, Fiber Optics, Fixed Wireless, Mobile Wireless and Satellite. Faster broadband means less time waiting on a download to occur and more efficient use of time. Faster broadband also means new considerations of what you can accomplish online, creating an entrepreneurial environment for our state that could transform West Virginia.

These figures illustrate the relationship between broadband speed, the types of broadband services that offer those speeds and the common applications each can support.

Typical ApplicationsDownload SpeedsUpload Speeds
Basic e-mail browsing, web browsing, youtube videos, voice over internet protocol >= 768Kbps but < 1.5Mbps >= 200Kbps but < 768Kbps
Streaming music, standard video, remote surveillance, telecommuting>= 1.5Mbps but < 3Mbps>= 768Kbps but < 1.5Mbps
File sharing (small/medium), enhanced digital audio, internet protocol TV>= 3Mbps but < 6Mbps>= 768Kbps but < 1.5Mbps
Gaming, video on demand >= 6Mbps but < 10 Mbps>= 3Mbps but < 6Mbps
Telemedicine, remote education, high definition TV >= 10Mbps but < 25Mbps>= 3Mbps but < 6Mbps
HD video surveillance, advanced remote access to applications >= 25Mbps but < 50Mbps>= 6Mbps but < 10Mbps
Video conferencing with multiple users, remote supercomputing >= 50Mbps but < 100Mbps>= 10Mbps but < 50Mbps
Real-time data collection, real-time medical image consultation, remote supercomputing>= 100Mbps>= 10Mbps

*Source: California Broadband Task Force's Definition of Broadband chart