The application scoring system gives preference to project sponsors who raise matching funds, and those who have partners.
One planning director suggested that the council wait an additional six months -- enough time for the planning agencies to complete "strategic plans" for broadband expansion in the regions they serve.
But Fisher said it's important for the broadband council to distribute the $3.3 million in grant funds before the regular legislative session starts in January.
"I think we're at the point we need to produce something," Fisher said.
He said the grant money is designed to encourage broadband providers to offer Internet service in areas where the companies typically wouldn't. Fisher said he hopes smaller telecommunication firms and nonprofits apply for funds.
"If they don't apply and the big providers do, and the big providers offer up viable projects, those projects will likely be funded," Fisher said during Tuesday's meeting at Marshall University's South Charleston campus. "I do not want this to be a government arm for large providers only."
Fisher said telecommunication companies -- including Frontier Communications -- recently disclosed their specific plans for expanding high-speed Internet in West Virginia.
The information will ensure that the broadband council doesn't allocate grant money for projects in areas where companies already have plans to bring high-speed Internet service.
Frontier and the other firms have signed nondisclosure agreements -- a promise that the information won't be shared publicly -- with the Broadband Deployment Council.
Last year, grant program discussions stalled while council members debated the use of $126.3 million in federal stimulus funds to expand broadband to schools, libraries, state agencies, health-care facilities and public safety offices in West Virginia.
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have asked the Department of Commerce's inspector general to investigate West Virginia's stimulus spending on the statewide broadband project.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.