Lit Communities,  in partnership with Ice Miller Whiteboard and DLZ, has helped provide Monongalia County with a strategic plan to guide the rollout of critical broadband connectivity to residents, businesses, and other organizations in the historic community of about 100,000 residents along the Monongahela River in West Virginia.

The 168-page strategic plan was presented to County Commissioners on Feb. 19, completing a project that began in May 2021 with the goal of both identifying areas that show the most need for improved internet service, and laying out a path for providing that critical new infrastructure across the county that includes rural areas as well as metro Morgantown and the University of West Virginia.

The project included a series of meetings and a survey that found overwhelming support for improved internet service and culminated with the following recommendations:

  • The county should use federal infrastructure funds and other federal and state grants to invest in a middle-mile fiber backbone network. 
  • Private providers can use the network to expand wired and wireless last-mile connectivity. The county can do the same in certain locations, primarily in the western sections of the county.
  • The county can leverage the high level of collaboration already demonstrated by local energy companies and utility providers to take advantage of existing rights-of-way and easements to enhance the rollout’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Lit Communities provided expertise on network design, financial modeling, consumer demand, and grant processes to help determine the specific next steps that Monongalia County leaders can take to achieve their fiber broadband goals. The full report can be viewed here.

“The level of interest and commitment we found among multiple stakeholders in Monongalia County gives us confidence that this plan, if followed, would result in a project that could be used as a national template on how to bring top-tier fiber broadband connectivity to similar communities across the country.” – Brian Snider, CEO of Lit Communities

“This strategic plan has been a huge project for our county, staff, and consultants,” said Sean Sikora, Monongalia County Commissioner. “We need robust internet connectivity to grow and thrive, and now we’re one step closer to providing better broadband service to more of our residents.” 

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About Lit CommunitiesLit Communities is both a forward-thinking builder and operator of next-generation network infrastructure and a consultancy that guides communities across the country through the complicated process of deploying their own open application fiber optic utilities. Lit Communities believes that by separating the network infrastructure from the services provided on it, a more resilient and consumer-friendly environment is created. This approach makes otherwise prohibitively expensive networks feasible to build in communities of all sizes. Learn more about Lit Communities.