Mayor Provides Update on Alexandria Broadband Project to Expand Internet Service Provider Choices

City Council during the first sod of the municipal fiber network last August. Left to right: 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 broadband Internet service choices for the community. The companies are: Lumos Phone LLC, NATC Tower Society, Shenandoah Cable Television, LLC (Shentel), Fiber Ting, Inc..

In his latest 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 forward in an effort to bring new broadband capability to our community,” he wrote.

According to a project page on the city’s 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 network currently in use, known as i-Net, is largely leased by Comcast.

Not only will the new network provide better connectivity, but it will also increase speed and, as mentioned earlier, provide residents and businesses with more options for a service provider in a regional market dominated by Comcast.

The city heavily considered feedback from residents about the lack of choice for television and internet providers as they set out to build the network.

The mayor first proposed the project more than eight years ago. A year later, the city issued a request for information. This called for concepts from the private sector. The 10 responses received now provide information on the current trajectory of the city. Last year, after reviewing their solicitation, Alexandria selected Jones Utilities Construction, Inc. to build the network.

In his proposal, Wilson included a “Dig Once” policy, meaning the broadband project would be completed at the same time as others.

“With hundreds of millions of dollars of sewer and transportation work planned over the next decade,” he wrote, “we would have to sequence and combine these works to be most effective.”

Construction, currently underway, is expected to be completed by 2025.

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