CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia plans to follow the lead of the federal government when it comes to setting acceptable Internet speeds.
State lawmakers have revised a bill intended to bring faster Internet service to rural communities across West Virginia.
The amended bill (HB2979) would require West Virginia's minimum acceptable broadband speed to match standards set by the Federal Communications Commission.
"We are hopeful this will allow us to continue our strong work in bringing broadband to every West Virginia citizen," said Dan O'Hanlon, chairman of the state Broadband Deployment Council.
A previous version of the bill, which passed the House, would have raised West Virginia's minimum acceptable download speed to 6 megabits per second.
However, the Communications Workers of America and Frontier Communications objected, saying that the new standard would allow the state to subsidize other broadband providers to bring faster service to areas where Frontier already makes high-speed Internet available.
Under the compromise bill, West Virginia's minimum download speed would be 4 megabits per second -- the current federal standard. The minimum upload speed would be 1 megabit per second.
"The FCC is going to keep raising those," predicted Jim Martin, a Broadband Deployment Council member who supports the bill. "We're going to match the FCC standard going forward."
State law now sets 200 kilobits per second as the minimum download speed, one of the slowest limits in the nation.