Broadband Lifecycle in Action: Virginia

Adjacent to Washington DC and the home of the FCC, Virginia is about to embark on journey along the Broadband Lifecycle. This is one trip the Bristol area in western Virginia is already very familiar with – as in 2007, SNG partnered with FiberToTheHome Council and BVU OptiNet (Bristol Virginia Utility) for step 6 of the broadband lifecycle – measuring outcomes.  And with research of impacts, came an opportunity to uncover where to allocate additional fiber resources.

The Center for Information Technology (CIT) of Virginia is targeting surveys to 30 thousand businesses and over 8 thousand homes.  With a statewide effort, this is a groundbreaking study on the benefits of a Fiber to the Home (FTTH) deployment. SNG will examine the economic and civic benefits that can be realized, give a holistic picture of the Community Return on Investment – and hopefully drive broadband development and growth throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The project is a follow-up to a successful 2007 SNG study in which the small town of Bristol (17,000 residents) reported big benefits just 12 months after BVU’s initial fiber investment.  SNG’s study found that for local businesses, fiber meant operational and sales efficiencies, cost savings, and employment opportunities. Bristol’s newly installed “platform for innovation” had created:

  • Dozens of businesses reporting a total increase of $2.7 million in annual sales
  • Two-thirds of businesses reporting cost-savings due to fiber use
  • Nearly 300 new jobs, including a 10% increase in employment from organizations reporting an increase in sales as a result of the fiber network  

Today, the Economic impact study of e‐solutions in the Bristol area is a core project component, quantifying the impacts of implementing e‐solutions from BVU OptiNet’s deployment.  In conjunction with the state-wide initiative, SNG is again collecting data in Bristol that will serve as benchmarks for the rest of Virginia, helping identify the most significant and immediate economic and social benefits from e‐solutions. This will help guide Virginia as it makes decisions for what solutions are needed, and where, throughout the Commonwealth.

Findings from the Bristol test bed will be used to take effective awareness and adoption strategies for education, workforce, economic growth, healthcare and community.  Learnings will also help prioritize planning activities, workshops, awareness campaigns, training on e‐solutions that will sustain and grow broadband.

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