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.

The National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA), is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. NTIA is primarily focused on expanding broadband Internet access and adoption in America, expanding the use of spectrum by all users, and ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for continued innovation and economic growth.  NTIA has developed the publications listed below to assist communities with broadband development initiatives. To learn more, visit

What Speed Do You Need? 

Does your home, business or community facilities have adequate baseline internet speeds? Click here for speed recommendations from NTIA.

Connected Community 

The connected community uses broadband to connect citizens, businesses and local government to the education, tools and resources needed in a digital economy.

Why Does Broadband Matter? 

Broadband is the link that ties a community together and connects it to the world. Whether urban or rural; broadband is the tool that will help your community members and institutions thrive.

Toolkits and Guides

About BroadbandUSA: Connecting America’s Communities 

NTIA’s BroadbandUSA program promotes innovation and economic growth by supporting efforts to expand broadband access and meaningful use across America. In this role, BroadbandUSA serves communities, industry and non-profits that want to expand broadband infrastructure and promote digital inclusion.

Technical Assistance Overview: Broadband Infrastructure 

NTIA’s BroadbandUSA team provides expert assistance and support to stakeholders that are interested in broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion programs that advance economic development, education and public safety initiatives.