Broadband

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Blacksburg Broadband Initiative

Family using electronic devices at a tableThe Town of Blacksburg is working on an initiative to bring world class broadband infrastructure to our community. This infrastructure is a critical utility for quality of life, just as roads, water, sewer, and electricity are to every home, business, non-profit, government, and educational institution. The Blacksburg community should have the opportunity to connect easily, securely, and affordably to a robust high speed broadband system. It is Blacksburg’s role to facilitate the investment of this infrastructure through the private sector.

Our goals are to:

  • Provide accessible and affordable high speed broadband connections to the public;
  • Work to establish a non-discriminatory, open access infrastructure that to the extent feasible, would be available to all users;
  • Facilitate a local broadband marketplace that is competitive to potential service providers; and
  • Provide businesses with the broadband capacity, affordability and local, regional and national connectivity they need to compete successfully in the global marketplace. 

A joint survey between the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Montgomery County, New River Regional Commission, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, and The Blacksburg Partnership was created to determine how residents and businesses feel about their current internet service. The localities are considering how they can create efficiencies and reduce costs for providers as well as determining local broadband need. The survey collected data to better establish how well existing service matches up to these needs and how the localities may proceed to recruit potential service providers to our area. Here are the results of the survey. (411kb pdf)

What Kind of Speed Will My Household Need?

Here are some general guidelines to help you determine the speed that best suits your household demand:

17 Mbps - Ideal for browsing and downloading

  • Great for small households
  • Good for multiple devices online
  • 30 mins to download an HD movie
  • Good to stream online TV

38 Mbps - Great for multi user downloading & streaming

  • Ideal for families with many devices
  • Better for multiple devices online
  • 15 min to download an HD movie
  • Better to stream online TV

76 Mbps - Best for multi-user downloading & streaming

  • Ideal for speed freak families with many devices
  • Best for multiple devices online
  • Eight minutes to download an HD movie
  • The best to stream online TV

Internet connection speed

Time to load a typical web page

Time to download a typical 5 minute song

Streaming video quality

56k dial-up modem

14 seconds

12 mins 30 secs

Low quality

256k broadband

3 seconds

3 mins

512k broadband

1.6 seconds

1 min 30 secs

1Mbps broadband

0.8 seconds

41 secs

2Mbps broadband

0.4 seconds

20 secs

Medium quality

4Mbps broadband

0.1 seconds

5 secs

6Mbps broadband

Instant

3.5 secs

8Mbps broadband

Instant

2.5 secs

TV quality

12Mbps broadband

Instant

1 sec

24Mbps broadband

Instant

Instant

Superfast

50Mbps broadband

Instant

Instant

100Mbps broadband

Instant

Instant

+100Mbps broadband

Instant

Instant

Ultrafast

 

If you’d like to complete more than one of these tasks at the same time, just add up how many Mbps it will take.

What’s Next for the Broadband Initiative?

In 2017 the Town of Blacksburg will solicit proposals from private service providers interested in offering high speed broadband services to our commercial areas and especially our neighborhoods. 

Existing wireless broadband providers, GoGig and Allpoints Broadband are currently offering these services to neighborhoods in specifically targeted areas. 

Helpful resources for potential service providers:

For additional information:

Chris Lawrence, Deputy Town Manager for Community Development, 540-443-1005.

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