"That doesn't make sense to me," O'Hanlon said. "I think the statute needs to be changed to allow the council to increase demand for broadband in areas that already have broadband."
Board member Jim Martin, president of Bridgeport-based Citynet, said the council should ask state legislators to change West Virginia's current definition of adequate Internet speeds to comply with federal guidelines, which recommend faster speeds.
After the change, more rural areas would qualify for state grants to build wireless towers or fiber-optic networks, Martin said, adding that such "infrastructure" projects should be funded over broadband demand projects.
"If we had speeds updated, some of the projects today wouldn't have been rejected," he said.
Also Wednesday, council members voted to reject eight projects that would have built wireless towers or fiber networks in rural areas. Frontier already offered high-speed Internet in those areas or planned to bring broadband to those communities.
Other projects were too expensive and would expand broadband to 30 or fewer households, said council members who voted against the proposals.
State lawmakers established the Broadband Deployment Council and allocated grant funds to the group four years ago.
Wednesday marked the first time the council distributed any funds, other than to pay a Pennsylvania consultant to create maps of broadband coverage in West Virginia and to review grant applications.
Council members haven't decided what to do with the $2 million in remaining funds. The council may ask for more grant applications next year.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.