"In terms of effort, West Virginia probably does fall in the middle, but 10 years ago, I think we would have been last," said Lee Fisher, a Broadband Deployment Council member.
West Virginia was ranked among the bottom four states for the percentage of homes that have access to fiber-optic cable. Most West Virginia homes receive Internet access over slower, copper-wire networks.
"It's really hard to pull fiber to a lot of homes," O'Hanlon said. "That's why we're trying to focus on last-mile wireless Internet networks as a solution in a lot of rural places."
Nationally, the TechNet study found that states that invested in broadband had stronger economic growth than those that have not.
"There's no question that a lot of the states that ranked high are investing in broadband going forward," Fisher said. "It's states with taxing authority or bond issuing authority for the specific purpose of supplying broadband to residents of those states."
The TechNet study was underwritten by Cisco Systems, a San Jose, Calif.-based company that designs and sells networking equipment.
"Simply put, broadband is the foundation for our nation's continued technology and economic leadership," said TechNet President Rey Ramsey in a news release. "We applaud all the states at the top of this index for their leadership in building the broadband infrastructure that is helping deliver economic success and improved quality of life for millions of our fellow citizens."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.