Projects that bring broadband service to the largest number of people will receive the highest scores under the council's project evaluation system.
"We had applications from a good cross- section of the state," Fisher said. "We had for-profits and nonprofits applying, as well and for-profit and nonprofit collaborations."
No municipalities or county commissions requested grant funds.
A team of consultants from Pennsylvania-based L.R. Kimball will review the applications and make recommendations.
"They have much more experience and technical expertise than we have on the this," Fisher said. "It will take time to sort through all this stuff."
On Sept. 21, the Broadband Deployment Council will start accepting "competing" grant applications from firms that want to provide high-speed Internet in the same rural areas. Companies will have 60 days to submit competing proposals.
The broadband council plans to take a final vote and award the $4 million at a Dec. 12 meeting.
The state Legislature established the council and allocated the money for broadband expansion projects four years ago. The council's grant program is separate from a $126.3 million federal grant being used to expand high-speed Internet service in West Virginia. The stimulus grant is the subject of a federal inspector general's review.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.