IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Rural West Virginia Residents Bemoan Slow Internet Service

Residents in rural Marion County likened Internet service to “a dead turtle” while offering officials feedback on the state of broadband in the region. The input was gathered as part of a six-county listening session.

slow internet
(TNS) — When asked to describe his Internet access as an animal, Farmington resident Fred Priester called his broadband, "a dead turtle."

"I pay Frontier between $120 and $130 a month for broadband service plus a landline," Priester said. "I get spinners on my videos, I get messages saying, 'insufficient network speed,' I get emails that were sent last week tomorrow and I pay them $120 for that service."

Fellow Farmington resident Meredith Banick said if she's comparing her Internet to an animal, then hers is from the dinosaur age.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, her church went to a virtual service. Due to her poor connection options, she missed the end of the Easter service. That was the last straw.

"I packed up all my Internet stuff in a box and told [Frontier] to come get it," Banick said. "We live in the dinosaur age now we have nothing. At least now I'm not paying for nothing too."

These were just a few of the complaints aired about the rural Internet connection options available in West Virginia. Tuesday evening, officials from the Fairmont-based Region VI Planning & Development Council hosted an Internet listening session at Farmington Town Hall, part of a tour around its six-county region to survey rural communities about their Internet access.

The results of the survey will be tallied and submitted to the state government to guide the implementation of the incoming $100 million infusion of federal funds to improve broadband availability in underserved and unserved communities.

The federal government announced each state in the country will receive a minimum of $100 million to be spent on broadband service expansion projects. States in greater need, like West Virginia, are eligible for more money on top of that minimum.

To help the state guide that money to the most underserved areas, the regional development offices are taking surveys about the quality of service and the community's familiarity with digital literacy.

Unfortunately, the stories shared by those in Farmington echo stories that have been shared around the region.

Tuesday night, the survey session was run by Courtney Accurti and Beth Crow, two public engagement specialists hired by Region VI to field responses from residents.

Accurti said that Priester's and Banick's complaints are similar to others voiced around the state.

"Unfortunately, I hate to say it, but I've heard something similar to these stories a few times now, and frustrating is a really polite word to use for these experiences," Accurti said. "Broadband access is no longer a luxury, it has become a necessity of life."

Farmington was just one stop of six that this group has made in each county in the Region VI coverage area. Wednesday, they will be surveying Monongalia County then Thursday there will be a wrap-up hybrid session held at the Region VI office in White Hall where residents in Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston or Taylor counties can tune in virtually or in person at the office.

For information about Region VI's strategic broadband plan, visit

To attend the upcoming input session about broadband access in the six-county region, register for virtual attendance at or come in person to the Region VI office in White Hall on May 11 at 6 p.m. Its address is 34 Mountain Park Dr., White Hall, WV.

©2023 the Times West Virginian, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.