Frontier wins big in West Virginia's $18M broadband funding round

Frontier has bagged the bulk of West Virginia’s latest funding round, which will dole out more than $18 million to cover approximately 8,250 targeted locations in the state.

The operator’s largest grant was around $7.67 million from West Virginia’s Major Broadband Project Strategies (MBPS) program. Frontier will match that funding award to build 381 miles of fiber infrastructure reaching 4,165 addresses in Jackson County.

This project will deliver broadband to 13 communities: Ravenswood, Cottageville, Sandyville, Evans, Ripley, Millwood, Mount Alto, Peewee, Somerville Fork, Le Roy, Amigo, Elizabeth and Lundale.

Additionally, Frontier will leverage a $5.71 million grant – also MBPS funding – and $10.6 million in matching funds to install 249 miles of fiber covering 1,967 locations in the greater Ripley area of Jackson County. The project will serve seven communities: Ripley, Kenna, Given, Gandeeville, Gay, Evans and Kentuck.

Frontier’s West Virginia awards come as the operator negotiates with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) on a new contract covering 1,400 Frontier employees in West Virginia and Ashburn, Virginia. The existing contract is set to expire in August.

And last month, Frontier received $500,000 to build fiber in Jacksonport, Wisconsin.

West Virginia-based fiber provider Prodigi was another winner in this week’s funding round, as it bagged $4.36 million in Line Extension Advancement and Development (LEAD) funds. It will use the money to build a 103-mile fiber network to 799 addresses in Preston and Monongalia counties.

Targeted locations include Albright, Aurora, Bruceton Mills, Masontown, Reedsville, Terra Alta and rural areas of east Monongalia County.

Finally, West Virginia awarded USCellular two grants from the Wireless Internet Networks (WIN) program. USCellular will use $679,950 to upgrade three towers near the Coopers Rock State Forest with 5G and mid-band wireless technology.

The second grant, worth $250,000, will fund a wireless implementation project for Watoga State Park. It’s the first time the state has made a preliminary award for the WIN program.

“I am committed to ensuring that all West Virginians, and all who visit our Great State have access to the most advanced internet connectivity possible,” said West Virginia Governor Jim Justice in a statement. “This allocation of funding represents several major steps toward this goal. The projects I am announcing today continue to solidify our commitment to developing broadband infrastructure throughout West Virginia.”