CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia ranks 35th in the nation for high-speed Internet service, but the state is moving faster to increase broadband availability than anywhere else, according to a new study.
West Virginia is one of 13 states cited as "overachiever" when it comes to expanding high-speed broadband Internet to promote economic development, according to a report released by a national group of business executives.
West Virginia received high marks for increasing the percentage of households with broadband service from 33 percent in 2007 to 59 percent in 2010, the last year for which data was available.
"I'm proud of the fact that West Virginia has done such a good job increasing the number of people using broadband in West Virginia," said Dan O'Hanlon, chairman of the state Broadband Deployment Council. "That's what the council was set up to do."
The report from TechNet, a network of CEOs who promote economic innovation, spotlighted overachieving states with broadband expansion roadblocks -- rugged terrain, rural areas and economies less reliant on technology.
Despite those obstacles, West Virginia had the largest increase in broadband use among all states between 2007 and 2010 -- a 26 percent jump.
"West Virginia is geographically challenged," O'Hanlon said. "West Virginia has been labeled an overachiever, and that's what we are."
Overall, West Virginia ranked 35th in the nation in the TechNet's "broadband index," which measured Internet speeds, broadband availability and how oriented a state's economy was to broadband.