Citizens of Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Salem City and Botetourt County, Thank you for your support of the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority!
The RVBA is a collaborative partnership of these public jurisdictions and the private business entities within them. It is because of citizens like you that we can enhance economic development across the Roanoke Valley and provide affordable high speed internet services that encourage collaboration and competition among large institutions, government facilities, and businesses in and around the region.
In a 2011 study, the RVBA’s founding influencers discovered that the Roanoke Valley had fallen behind in fiber connectivity against regions competing for new businesses.
- Only 8% of the region could access fiber (Compare to a 24% national average at the time)
- Only 11% of the region could choose from more than two ISP options (Compare to a national average of 55%)
- Only 4.5% of the region could access speeds of 1GBPS or faster (Compare to the 50% standard in more fiber-rich communities like Chattanooga, TN which was just beginning its rise to fame as America’s “gig city”)
The RVBA aims to increase our competitive advantage for businesses seeking to expand and establish a base on the east coast. The new open access network has increased access to high speed connectivity and fiber internet across the Roanoke Valley and made the region a more attractive option for businesses.
With new businesses comes new jobs and new opportunity for growth within our region. The Roanoke Valley has many organizations actively engaging businesses and the addition of the RVBA open-access network is one more advantage for choosing to start a business in this region.
In the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority’s (RVBA) open-access network, the RVBA owns, maintains, and services the actual and physical fiber network. In other words, the RVBA provides the initial investment into the fiber network, along with all maintenance and operation for any network updates, expansions, and potential outages. However, this “last mile” delivery of Internet services to individual businesses is managed by individual ISPs who purchase access to the RVBA infrastructure. This arrangement allows for new and smaller ISPs to break into an already established market and encourages market competition among Internet providers.
An open market for fiber Internet means that business owners, invested municipalities, and community members reap the benefits of a more robust ISP market. Since an open-access model promotes competition, greater consumer choice, lower prices, and greater transparency, this business model allows for new and innovative ISPs to enter the market and offer you the best and most affordable Internet access available.
For this reason, the RVBA does not provide residential internet options. However, we welcome and encourage all ISPs who do.
Finally, Citizens of the City of Roanoke, Roanoke County, the City of Salem and Botetourt County can take pride in their community for proactively and quickly addressing a need for modern communications technology among the businesses and hardworking citizens of the Roanoke Valley.
No one remembers the exact date Roanoke-area fiber was originally discussed or by whom it was originally pitched, but everyone agrees it started as quiet conversations in small pockets of the community. Though the project started with visionary business leaders and technology enthusiasts in economic development brainstorming sessions around kitchen tables, highly vested community members and proactive government officials joined the discussion to define and create an opportunity that would soon provide a multitude of benefits to the Roanoke Valley.
“It is a demonstration of our region’s advancements in 21st century technology and forward momentum in accommodating the needs of the business community,” said Jill Loope, Roanoke County Director of Economic Development. “The anticipated results of this community investment will yield benefits for generations to come.”