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Commission Updated On Broadband In Wetzel County

By Rick Loy - Staff Writer | Sep 30, 2020

WC Commissioners Larry Lemon, Greg Morris and Lisa Heasley.

The Wetzel County Commission met September 22, at the Wetzel County commission office for the update on the broadband project for the county. Commission President Larry Lemon called the meeting to order after the Pledge of Allegiance. All commissioners were present.

Senator Charles Clements, Delegate Dave Pethel, Wetzel County Schools Superintendent Ed Toman, Ben McPherson, Wetzel County schools, Scott Lemley, County Assessor, Sheriff Mike Koontz, Chamber of Commerce Carla McBee, and Lori McCoy, County Circuit Court were present.

Josh Jefferson, Project Coordinator of Marshall/Wetzel Counties responsible for RED (Regional Economic Development) Partnership gave a presentation via zoom on the progress of the new broadband in the area.

Attending the zoom meeting was Richard Jenkins of the USDA, Eric Price (Engineer) of the contractor at Thompson and Litton, James Martin, CEO of CityNet, Todd Dlugos, CEO at CityNet, Chris Morris, and Senior VP of CityNet.

The announcement of the original project of broadband was made December 2019 at Shortline school. The USDA has got all contracts, funds from the Federal Government finalized to team up with CityNet to start in early October of running the broadband from Bridgeport, West Virginia to Wetzel County.

Eric Price of Thompson and Litton, an engineer has been working to lay out the program.

Martin, CEO of CityNet said the broadband in Wetzel County will cover 84 miles on Route 7 & 20 and will reach residence homes from the main line from 1200 to 1500 feet.

Martin commented they are further ahead on the Wetzel County project then a 11 other projects in the four other states CityNet is contracted to install broadband. He said government only funds up to 1500 feet for residents to hook up to the broadband main line. They will be meeting with Senator Capito this week discussing the project in more detail.

Martin said it will be 100 percent fiber optic with 1000 MB featuring Internet, phone, and video. He also mentioned it usually cost $30,000 per mile to install the broadband line. He said the Government funds is helping to get this project started because of the cost.

After a two to three-year completion date, CityNet is hoping to update the broadband to reach more residence in rural areas of Wetzel County after completion of first phase.

Commissioner Greg Morris, asked Martin why they cannot start on both ends of county instead of starting at Bridgeport West Virginia? Martin said that they would discuss, but residents would not be hooked up until the broadband line is completed and then be hooked in at Bridgeport.

Commissioner President Larry Lemon questioned Martin about the hook up of the schools in the county? Ben McPherson of the Wetzel County schools said that all schools have already been hooked up.