BRIDGEPORT, W.Va., Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Citynet has launched a new website to communicate to West Virginia residents the company's concerns about how the state is using federal stimulus dollars to build high-speed Internet infrastructure. The site, www.westvirginia.com, provides details about how the state's plan would only extend old, outdated telephone lines instead of building middle-mile infrastructure.
"West Virginia is at a crossroads," Jim Martin, president and chief executive officer of Citynet, said. "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 behind once again. The outcome will determine our state's economic growth for years to come."
Martin has previously called on the state to rework its planned use for the grant funds. He also has asked the federal government to suspend the grant, because Citynet officials believe the state's plan does not meet the requirements of federal law.
"If the state were to build a true middle-mile solution, then businesses and residential Internet customers would see a significant reduction in price, as well as an increase in quality, capacity and speed," Martin said. "Regretfully, the state chose to support a plan that relies on outdated telephone lines and a monopoly."
Citynet also has launched an advertising campaign, including two radio commercials. One spot (available at: http://www.Westvirginia.com/ourfuture.mp3) contrasts how a child born in Logan County, W. Va., would have a harder time finding a job in the new economy because of the state's high-speed Internet plan compared to a child born in Ohio. According to Citynet officials, Ohio is using its grant funds to build true middle-mile Internet infrastructure unlike West Virginia. The second spot (available at: http://www.Westvirginia.com/broadbandsuperhighway.mp3) highlights how the Internet's speed, capacity and affordability would be impaired by the state's plan.
The state of West Virginia received a $126 million federal grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for development of a high-speed Internet program known as the West Virginia Statewide Broadband Infrastructure Project.
In its application, the state indicated it intended to build "middle-mile" Internet infrastructure that would benefit government agencies and schools, as well as 110,000 businesses and 700,000 households. To accomplish these goals would require an open-access model in which the Internet infrastructure is used by all carriers at a nominal rate that covers normal operating costs.
Under the direction of the West Virginia Department of Commerce, the state instead promoted a "last-mile" program that provides $69 million in grant funds for the benefit of Frontier Communications, a publicly traded company that has taken over Verizon's landline telephone business in West Virginia. The final plan would serve only about 1,000 points of interest instead of the 110,000 businesses or the 700,000 homes the state initially stated the plan would serve.
(Citynet is a competitive, local-exchange telephone company headquartered in Bridgeport, W.Va. The company is owned and operated by West Virginians. Citynet has been recognized for its technologically advanced Internet Protocol-based service offerings and for enabling broadband services in underserved markets.)