That the state has addressed some of the challenges faced by our community anchor institutions through the BTOP program. We cannot , however, lose sight that many of our State's residents and businesses still do not have access to high speed internet services at affordable prices. Citynet supports legislation that will result in the creation of an open-access network that promotes capacity, competition and quality. Competition would allow West Virginia companies to compete on a level playing field with businesses in neighboring states or in different parts of the world. All companies should be able to access the assets purchased by taxpayer funds. Access and data transportation charges should reflect the level of federal funding provided, resulting in savings for our residents and businesses throughout the State. Such a plan for high-speed Internet would provide that state and local governmental agencies, as well as businesses and residents that have access to high-speed Internet services at a competitive price. At this time, those of us in West Virginia who do have access pay significantly more for high-speed Internet service than individuals and businesses in our surrounding states.
Citynet recommends that the State focus on implementing broadband policies that will make true high-speed broadband Internet services available to communities where such services are not currently available; prior to funding last mile infrastructure projects.
West Virginia is at a crossroads. We can develop a middle-mile solution for high-speed Internet infrastructure and create jobs, or we can stick with the status quo and watch West Virginia fall further behind other states once again. The outcome will determine our state's economic growth for years to come.