Alexandria, Virginia Solicits Ideas for Municipal and Community Broadband Improvements

by Lee Hernly, Editor

Alexandria, Virginia
Will Alexandria Consider A Municipal Network?

The City of Alexandria is asking the private and nonprofit broadband industry and other interested parties to help evaluate the possibility of upgrading broadband Internet infrastructure in Alexandria. The City has issued a formal Request for Information (RFI), marking an exploratory step in reviewing options to ensure that Alexandria has the digital infrastructure it needs for both the City government and residential and commercial use.

“Alexandria has long been a leader in local government technology, and home to thousands of residents and businesses that rely on access to broadband Internet,” said Mayor William D. Euille.  “This RFI is an opportunity for the market – and anyone else – to help give us ideas about how to begin an exciting new chapter in municipal and community broadband in Alexandria.”

The RFI addresses two separate but complementary City initiatives.  First, the City plans to upgrade its fiber backbone infrastructure to support data transport among the City’s public institutions, including schools, libraries, public safety buildings, and other City facilities.  The current institutional network, or “ I-Net,” which was the first network of its kind in Virginia, now connects nearly 95 municipal and educational facilities.   Second, the City wishes to enhance broadband connectivity for Alexandria’s residents, businesses, and anchor institutions, by expanding the range and quality of available broadband and data transport services.  This may include both additional broadband providers, and additional broadband infrastructure such as fiber to the premises (FTTP).

Currently, the majority of Alexandria is served by a single broadband provider, which uses its own cable infrastructure.  Responses to the RFI will allow the City to learn about the capabilities of different types of participants in the broadband market, and will help inform decisions about what types of public or private initiatives may be a good fit for Alexandria’s needs.   Both City Council and the Council-appointed Commission on Information Technology have been active in working to ensure expanded consumer broadband options.

Alexandria is a place where technology thrives and is an integral part of doing business. Attracted by a business-friendly and fiscally responsible government (one of only a select group in the country with double AAA bond ratings), one of the most educated workforces in the United States, and an outstanding quality of life, more than 200 technology companies, employing approximately 10,000, call Alexandria home.

The deadline to respond to the Request for Information is September 3, 2015. To read the full RFI, visit this link.

(Flickr Pool photo by smilla4, on Flickr)

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