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Manchin announces $4.2M to expand broadband access

CHARLESTON — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced that the first round of the Emergency Connectivity Fund, which helps schools and libraries purchase laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and broadband connections for students, staff and library visitors.

In West Virginia, 12 schools will receive $4,188,368 in awards.

“Broadband access is vital for West Virginians to compete for good-paying jobs, finish their homework and attract new residents to the state,” Manchin said. “This first round of funding from the Emergency Connectivity Fund, which I successfully fought to include in the American Rescue Plan, is great news for the Mountain State.

“I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of the nearly $4.2 million on our communities and schools and I encourage all eligible schools and libraries to apply for the second round of funding to buy laptops, hotspots, and much more to provide West Virginians with access to broadband, no matter where they live in the Mountain State.”

The Emergency Connectivity Fund was authorized in the American Rescue Plan earlier this year to provide $7.17 billion to expand distance learning and connectivity around the country, including key provisions authored by Sen. Manchin which prioritized rural areas and made these funds fully reimbursable to ensure rural states like West Virginia do not have to bear the burden of higher costs.

In August, Manchin announced that West Virginia schools and libraries can expect to receive as much as $48,189,817 to purchase laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and broadband connections for students, staff and library visitors, pending final review of the applications by the FCC. The FCC will continue to review applications and future funding awards are expected in coming weeks. The Emergency Connectivity Program will also be open for a second round of applications from Sept. 28 to Oct. 13.

Individual awards listed below:

$1,827,974 – Wyoming County School District, Pineville

$1,175,180 – Logan County School District, Logan

$406,573 – Cabell County Schools, Huntington

$369, 611 – West Virginia State Department of Education

$137,124 – Kanawha County Public Library System, Charleston

$110,074 – Cabell County Public Library System, Huntington

$45,000 – Ohio County School District, Wheeling

$35,379 – Central Catholic High School, Wheeling

$34,649 – Monroe County School District, Union

$23,111 – St Michael School, Wheeling

$17,056 – Madonna High School, Weirton

$6,633 – Corpus Christi School, Wheeling

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