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The Need for Broadband Access in Rural Appalachia

Access to reliable internet services is vital in today’s economy. In a recent article published by Voice of America (VOA), the U.S. international broadcaster part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) dedicated to serving as a reliable and authoritative source of news, the lack of solid internet access in rural West Virginia negatively impacts business operations by limiting connectivity to potential customers and resources.

Still from "Lack of Internet Access Hurting West Virginians" – VOA Video

New River Gorge Regional Development Authority Executive Director Joe Brouse was featured in an interview with VOA and voiced his concern on the topic. “Businesses expect it. Households expect it. If people want to live here, they need to have access. It’s an aspect of being in the modern world,” says Brouse. He went on to state that a mixture of grant and loan programs to entities that would own the necessary fiber could help deliver affordable, quality internet services to customers and businesses in these rural communities.

Brouse describes the town of Hinton, West Virginia as a model example of a rural community that is a small place “ahead of the game” in providing the type of broadband that is lacking in other areas across the state. High-speed internet access can open the door to new opportunities for rural Appalachia and creative solutions could bring the much needed change.

To read the full article or for more information about VOA, visit