Roanoke Reports

February 2016

Roanoke Reports is the City of Roanoke's electronic newsletter for citizens. Each month, the flip-book style format features different stories about things happening in the city.

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4 Broadband Comes to Roanoke All eyes are on Roanoke, as the city continues to grow and develop its economic engine. In developing strategies to strengthen our economic vitality, community leaders have identified what is needed for our business community to thrive. At the top of that list is broadband. What is Broadband? For those who aren't familiar with the term, broadband refers to a wide bandwidth for Internet access which allows for a variety of high-speed networks. Broadband uses things like coaxial cable and fiber optic cable to simultaneously transport multiple signals and traffic types. Broadband is an effective catalyst for economic development because large companies considering Roanoke as a location will insist on having Internet access with connections such as 3G and 4G for wireless communications, multi-gigabit speeds for optical transport and mobile back-haul, and satellite communications. Why? To allow them to efficiently conduct business across the country and the world, using the fastest and easiest methods. "Broadband is meant to serve business, educa- tion, and government sectors, but especially to support and enable economic development for both the public and private sectors," said Frank Smith, Executive Director of the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority (RVBA). "It also gives a strategic advantage to existing businesses to help them be more competitive in the regional, national, and global market- place." The RVBA is a cooperative effort of the Cities of Roanoke and Salem, and the Counties of Roanoke and Botetourt. The Good News How are we doing so far? The City of Roanoke and the City of Salem have chosen to move forward with funding in the amount of $5 million to install conduit in their respective areas. At present, 50 miles of broad- band fiber optic cable and conduit is being placed in the ground with full network control and management. Installation of the fiber and conduit began in August 2015 and is projected to be completed in early March of this year. Looking toward the future, the RVBA will continue to meet with stakeholders to better understand their needs for high-speed communica- tions, develop pricing for this service, and establish a strategic and tactical vision for broadband. Without a doubt, broadband is key to making the Roanoke Valley attractive to companies who want to be successful and competitive, as well as providing world-class high-speed communications services to support our school systems and local government. Stay tuned for future updates on this important project.

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