West Virginia County seeks to expand internet access


(TNS) – High-speed broadband access has joined water, sewer and electricity as must-have utilities for communities hoping to attract and retain residents and businesses, so the Mercer County has started advertising for companies willing to provide the area around Exit 1 on Interstate 77 with broadband service.

The county commission announced in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph on Wednesday that an internet service provider would provide high-speed broadband service to interested customers.

The ultimate goal is to expand opportunities for county residents to access broadband, County Commissioner Greg Puckett said.

“We have these investments that make us more marketable to the outside world and more connected to the resources we have locally,” he said.

The county commission is also working with the state of West Virginia, the Regional Planning and Development Council, and the West Virginia Broadband Improvement Council on the project. Region I helped the county secure funding for the project, Commissioner Bill Archer said.

“This is going to provide broadband services to the Cumberland Industrial Park,” Archer said. “It’s on the way. They’ve made progress since we got the first grant.”

Puckett said the goal is to help exits 1 and 14 at Gardner Road on I-77 have the same development as exit 9 in Princeton, which has multiple malls and many businesses.

“Plenty of additional (broadband) access keeps customers well informed, and it’s a good recruiting tool to attract other businesses to the area,” Puckett said, adding that the Town of Bluefield is working to foster the economic development of Exit 1. “Building around Exit 1 is essential for growth. Broadband is the highway of the modern world.”

© 2022 The Bluefield Daily Telegraph (Bluefield, W.Va.). Distributed by Content Agency Tribune, LLC.


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