Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power said Wednesday they are seeking approval from West Virginia’s Public Service Commission on a broadband expansion project in Logan and Mingo counties.
The companies are requesting approval of plans and cost recovery for the estimated $61.3 million project, according to a news release from Appalachian Power. The plan includes installing 430 miles of middle-mile fiber optic cable infrastructure needed to expand high-speed broadband access.
West Virginia lawmakers passed legislation in 2019 allowing electric utilities to submit broadband feasibility studies, and later that year the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council unanimously approved Appalachian Power’s feasibility study for the Logan and Mingo project.
The project plan calls for internet service provider GigaBeam Networks of Bluefield, Va., to own, install and operate the last-mile infrastructure needed to deliver broadband services to customers in the project area.
If approved by the commission, the first year project costs will add 15 cents a month to the bill of the companies’ West Virginia residential customers using 1,000 kWh per month. Project construction is expected to begin within 180 days after commission approval, and be complete approximately 24 months after the start of construction.