Bandwidth boost for southwestern Virginia

The Roanoke Times ran an article yesterday (Sunday) in the business section on two stimulus projects building fiber in the Blacksburg-Roanoke region. The two middle mile projects are not linked to any comprehensive last mile efforts, which is also the challenge for many stimulus-funded middle mile projects in other areas.

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Pretty good article. Too bad they didn't interview any ISPs wrt this issue. Broadband will get cheaper as time goes on, but that Last Mile Fiber is actually the biggest issue, not so much the stuff that these projects are about. Just because the fiber gets there, doesn't mean that the price will drop or become available instantly.

Somebody have to provide the end user equipment and the fiber from the long haul depicted in these projects and the end point. This is the expense that has to be recouped. Access to utilities rights of way, and the equipment and materials is VERY expensive. The Price that the LECs are charging now for this sort of thing is VERY much less expensive that even a couple of years ago, but a fiber 10mbps connection to the internet is about $2000 / mth.

My company is building out networks based on the Lec networks and through bulk business with them, we can offer, in some cases, that same 10mbps link to the internet for closer to $1000 / mth and sometimes a bit cheaper, but still a smaller business has a hard time justifying this expense.

So, I don't see this fiber making an impact immediately, however it will BEGIN to help bring down the prices.

One of the things that can help, possibly, is the creation of community based coops, spearheaded by the local government, with business partners and residential partners to aggregate the local networks, and then Bulk buy internet access to gain REAL advantage.