CHARLESTON, W.VA — The West Virginia Department of Economic Development (WVDED) today announced the West Virginia Broadband Equity, Access & Deployment (BEAD) Challenge Process will begin on January 29, 2024, following the approval of the BEAD Initial Proposal Volume I. Registration will open today and the challenge phase will be open for 30 days, closing on February 28, 2024.
The West Virginia BEAD Challenge Process allows stakeholders in West Virginia to dispute the level of internet service reported on the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Map available at a given location within the State. Under federal BEAD Program rules, only units of local government, nonprofit organizations and broadband service providers are eligible to submit challenges during the BEAD Challenge Process. Challengers must submit evidence that demonstrates the current information about the specific location that needs to be corrected.
Eligible entities can learn more and register to participate in the West Virginia BEAD Challenge Process by visiting register.broadband.wv.gov/register/bead. Instructions and a slide presentation are available at broadband.wv.gov. A video tutorial is available at: youtu.be/YHZpD4G8ki0?feature=shared. West Virginia has teamed with Ready.net to administer the challenge process. Registrants should submit one primary user per entity in the Ready.net system. Additional users can be added to the primary account following registration.
After the 30-day challenge phase closes, the 30-day rebuttal phase will open to provide any counter-evidence to a challenge. After the rebuttal phase closes, challenges will be adjudicated in a final determination phase. Following completion of the Challenge Process, the final updated map will be used to allocate BEAD funding across the State.
WVDED is tasked with deploying local and federal broadband funds, including those from the BEAD program. In June 2023, the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) announced that West Virginia would be awarded $1.2 billion of this funding to provide high-speed broadband access to its residents. This historic investment in broadband infrastructure and related digital inclusion efforts will support West Virginia’s vision for universal broadband access.
NTIA approval of the Initial Proposal Volume I marks a significant step forward in West Virginia’s ongoing initiative to expand and improve broadband access to approximately 168,000 unserved and underserved locations across West Virginia.