The Governor's executive order seeks to access more than $700 million in funding for expanded broadband.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The governor of West Virginia signed an executive order on Thursday that aimed to ensure the state can access $766 million in federal funds over the next decade to expand long-sought broadband access in rural communities.

Gov. Jim Justice said the state will seek the money from the Federal Communications Commission, which administers the $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. It aims to subsidize internet providers to expand broadband service over six million homes and businesses nationwide.

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U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said the governor’s promise of hundreds of millions in federal dollars was “misleading.” In a statement, he said there isn’t a single internet service provider in the state eligible to bid for the funds, set to be doled out in an auction at the end of next month.

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Justice and state legislative leaders had said the investments in West Virginia would expand access to 121,000 households.

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