Google Fiber -- launched as a test in Kansas City, Kan., last month -- is "ultra high-speed broadband networks . . . that will deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections," according to its website.
However, Citynet currently is installing the fiber-optic networks to benefit businesses, Dlugos said.
"We are predominantly focused on businesses initially because there is a faster return with businesses," Dlugos said. "Economic development comes through business investments."
Residential customers won't see high-speed broadband services until up to five years from now, Martin said.
In an email sent after the meeting, Martin said, "This is a unique opportunity to bring next-generation [fiber to the premises]-based solutions to our business community, which is becoming increasingly more dependent on affordable high-capacity broadband services."
Because West Virginia is ranked 52nd of 56 in U.S. states and territories for broadband speed, Martin said, it makes sense to do this now.
One challenge in West Virginia is the state's small population and rugged terrain, which has made it a challenge for competitive broadband services to come here, Martin said.
"Our broadband costs in West Virginia are 20 times neighboring states because of lack of infrastructure and competition," Martin said. "Our goal is to cut broadband costs by 90 percent."
Martin said Citynet has hired independent contractors during the construction period.
He couldn't say when the project would reach the Charleston area but did say the state capital is "more challenging to build in, because we have to tear streets up and more."
In other business Thursday, EDA members:
• Gave final approval for a $3.7 million loan to IMI Fabi to buy new equipment in the company's Benwood facility. IMI Fabi, a producer of milled talc used in the polymer, paper, paint, agriculture, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, is expanding in Marshall County. The project will create nine jobs in the next three years, according to the EDA.
• Gave final approval to Skana Aluminum Co., a Wisconsin-based aluminum firm, for $2 million. Skana Aluminum plans to buy a building in Clarksburg owned by Family Aluminum.
The loan will be used to purchase equipment in the Scott Aluminum plant and increase the staff from 35 to 48 workers over the next three years.
• Insured a $320,000 bank loan to City National Bank for Main Street Hinton, a nonprofit group, to operate a long-term health-care facility in Summers County. The loan insurance could permit the company to restore 24 jobs.
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.