Beckley Common Council has given its support to a proposed project that, if it comes to fruition, will bring ultra high-speed broadband Internet to southern West Virginia.

Council members passed a resolution Tuesday night stating the city supports the Rahall Ultra High-Speed Broadband Initiative.

Mayor Emmett Pugh said the initiative is sponsored by the Region I and Region IV Planning and Development Councils, and Congressman Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., has loaned his name to it. The proposed project, that could cost $30 to $50 million, would bring a 100 gigabyte, data-only pipeline through Mercer, Raleigh and eight other counties.

Residents and businesses have high-speed broadband Internet access, but its speed pales in comparison to ultra high-speed broadband, he said.

“This could download Encyclopedia Britannica in four-hundredths of a nanosecond. It’s that quick,” Pugh said.

While that speed is probably more than what most people need, Pugh said, businesses like hospitals and educational institutions could definitely use it.

The resolution also states broadband access is a key infrastructure component that is important to modern commerce as water, sewer or transportation.

Pugh emphasized, though, the proposed project is in a “holding pattern.”

— E-mail:

apridemore@register-herald.com

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