Page 9 - Salem Magazine Spring 2016
P. 9

Inside City Hall
Kevin’s Corner
Kevin Boggess - City Manager 375-3016
    When we reach a certain age in life, we often need more fiber. The same could be said for the Roanoke Valley’s infrastructure. In 2011, a group of Roanoke Valley citizens and business owners joined the cities of Salem and Roanoke and the counties of Roanoke and Botetourt to take a look at our region’s access
               to fiber-optic based internet services.
What we discovered was that we were well behind the rest
 of the country. How far behind were we? Only eight percent of the valley’s metro population had access to fiber
networks while the average across the country
was 24 percent.
The decision was made to create
a regional organization known as the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority that would be tasked with making measurable improvements to Fiber Optic accessibility, affordability, reliability and speed to further the long term economic prospects of the region.
I am proud to say that as of this spring, the
Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority is now fully
operational. I am equally proud to say that Salem
and, particularly, the Salem Electric Department played an important role during the RVBA’s formation.
Salem was in a position to take a leadership role in this effort because the Salem Electric Department already had experience deploying fiber and managing a data center. The City began installing fiber optic cable in the city years ago in an effort to connect city buildings and schools with a reliable high speed network. Over time, this fiber has been able to assist Salem businesses with connectivity, as well.
 Our experienced Electric and Technology Systems staff members became invaluable resources to the RVBA, as the network was designed and built. As a result, we were able to leverage the infrastructure we have in place to help move this project forward.
The new fiber network is an “open access” network that will improve the economic advantages that we already enjoy in our region. The term “open access” means that any private sector telecommunications provider can, for a set fee, use the network to provide services to customers. Having the network in place makes it easier to deliver competitive services throughout the Roanoke Valley.
I have been honored to represent Salem and serve as the Chairman of the RVBA. Along with our Executive Director, Frank Smith, and my fellow board members, I believe we have positioned ourselves for tremendous growth in the immediate future.
  Salem’s Electric and Information Technology staffs are major resources for the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority. | SPRING 2016

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