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.

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.

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

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