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Mayor Provides Update on Alexandria Broadband Project To Expand Internet Provider Choices

City Council at the groundbreaking for the Muncipal Fiber Network last August. From left: Councilman Canek Aguirre, Councilman John Taylor Chapman, Councilwoman Amy Jackson, Mayor Justin Wilson (Photo Grace Billups Arnold)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Last month the City of Alexandria received proposals from four companies to expand the choices for broadband internet services for the community. The companies are: Lumos Telephone LLC, NATC Tower Company, Shenandoah Cable Television, LLC (Shentel), Ting Fiber, Inc.

In his most recent newsletter, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson provided an update on the progress of the Municipal Fiber Network and wrote in detail about its history.

“It has taken far too long, but the City is finally moving ahead on an effort to bring new broadband capacity to our community,” he wrote.

According to a page about the project on the city website, the plan is for Alexandria to have its own fiber network. This will provide broadband access to public spaces such as libraries, schools, and various city-owned facilities. The current network in use, known as i-Net, is for the most part, leased by Comcast.

Not only will the new network provide better connectivity, it will also increase speed, and as previously mentioned, offer residents and businesses more options for a service provider in an area market dominated by Comcast.

The city strongly considered feedback from residents about the lack of choices for TV and internet providers as they set out to create the network.

The mayor first proposed the project more than eight years ago. One year later, the city issued a Request for Information. This solicited concepts from the private sector. The 10 responses received are now informing the city’s current path. Last year, after revising their solicitation, Alexandria chose Jones Utilities Construction, Inc. to build the network.

In his proposal, Wilson included a “Dig Once” policy, meaning that the broadband project would be completed simultaneously with others.

“With hundreds of millions of dollars of sewer and transportation work scheduled over the next decade,” he wrote, “we should sequence and combine that work to be the most efficient.”

Construction, now underway, is expected to be complete by 2025.

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Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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