Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority Gains Support in Salem - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority Gains Support in Salem

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A new broadband infrastructure in the Roanoke Valley gained support among local municipalities Monday night.

The Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority Project has been in the works for nearly two years now.

Last week, Roanoke City jumped on board. Monday night, the project gained support in Salem, although they decided to table the vote until all four of the big players hold their public hearing.

The consensus on how those living in Salem feel about Comcast is no secret. One by one they've voiced their opinions to city council. But with it being too expensive for other providers to come to the area, Comcast has been the only option.

Salem Mayor Randy Foley is looking to open the doors for other options.

"Right now there are essentially monopolies," Foley said.

But when it comes to broadband Internet, the Roanoke Valley is taking action. Right now area leaders are voting on joining a project that would build the valley's first broadband infrastructure. That includes Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Botetourt County, and Salem.

In light of the proposal that could pull customers away in Salem, Comcast representatives addressed the council with the improvements in service they've recently made.

Foley says he believes the improvements are due to possible competition.

"I would like to believe that some of that is the result of seeing this broadband authority coming into fruition," Foley said.

Foley says the new broadband authority has his vote.

Roanoke City council has committed $1 million each year for the next two years to help get the project off the ground.

Roanoke City manager Chris Morrill says it will help bring Roanoke up to speed.

"Right now we are behind the other communities," Morrill said.

He says the valley's own broadband infrastructure is just the thing to get ahead.

"We think forming this authority, partnering with other providers, that we can increase both the availability of broadband, the speed, and reduce the cost," Morrill said.