Washington Electric receives $24,500 grant from Appalachian Regional Commission for broadband study
October 8, 2019
Today, Washington Electric Cooperative, Inc., was awarded $24,500 by the Appalachian Regional Commission for a broadband feasibility study.
The study will assist the cooperative with decisions on whether to pursue deployment of broadband services within its member service territory of Athens, Guernsey, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, and Washington counties. Major tasks include conducting an analysis of market conditions, developing cost estimates, preparing a financial business plan, and conducting a market study to determine the potential “take rate” of broadband services. Through this study, Washington Electric will be able to determine the gaps that exist in the local broadband infrastructure and whether the cooperative is in a position to bridge those gaps.
“We’ve recognized through conversations with our member-consumers that there is a need for broadband in our area,” said Washington Electric Cooperative CEO Jeff Triplett. “The co-op exists to meet the needs of these members and their communities, so it makes sense for us to explore whether we can be part of the effort to bring broadband to the region’s underserved areas. A feasibility study is a long way from a commitment to provide broadband, but it is an important due-diligence step we are happy to pursue on behalf of our members, using these grant funds.”
Today’s announcement is one of 54 investments totaling $44.4 million via ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative, a congressionally funded opportunity targeting federal resources to help communities and strengthen regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. Additional support for Washington Electric’s project is provided by Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives.
“I congratulate Washington Electric Cooperative for being an FY 2019 POWER grantee, and commend them on the leadership they have shown in their community,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they diversify economies, invest in growth-oriented infrastructure, train a next-generation workforce, and ingrain resiliency and hope into their local fabric. Projects like this help ensure a prosperous future for Appalachia.”
About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission (www.arc.gov) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.