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Mercer County, W.Va., Wants Broadband, Needs Funding First

Efforts to fill gaps in access to high-speed Internet service in the region will require significant funding. Officials are in the process of gathering public input to determine the best area to target this work.

by Emily Coppola, Bluefield Daily Telegraph / August 9, 2019

(TNS) — Mercer County residents with no access to high-speed broadband could see this soon change.

The Mercer County Commission is seeking to fill the gaps in the county where there is no broadband. To do so, the county first must get the necessary funding.

“We met with Region One and discussed the possibility of bringing broadband to different areas of the county,” Mercer County Commissioner Bill Archer said Thursday.

The funding that the county is searching for is from a federal source, according to Archer. The commission is also seeking public input in the matter.

At the next Mercer County Commission meeting, the public is encouraged to attend and provide input about the possible broadband expansion project. The commission is also seeking public comment about what the board should add to the funding application. The meeting will take place on August 13, at 5:30 p.m. The meeting chambers of the county commission is located on the top floor of the Mercer County Courthouse.

Archer said, Fiscal Year 2019 Community Development Block Grant funding is what the commission is seeking.

“We looked into where we might want to target our efforts. There are several locations throughout the county eligible based on income levels,” Archer said, “We discussed the potential for different locations.”

Archer said the decision on the location of the broadband project has some requirements such as employees in the area and more. These requirements were discussed by commissioners and the representative, Jason Roberts, of Region One.

©2019 the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (Bluefield, W.Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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