Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority looks at accomplishments, growth during 2018

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) 2018 marks a year of steady expansion for the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority.

They now have more than 80 miles of fiber total. They're hoping that means more customers and economic development in the region.

There's plenty to see at Feeding America Southwest Virginia this time of year, but it's what you don't see that's really helping them out this holiday season.

Erich Geist, Feeding America Southwest Virginia IT Director, said, “I like to say that we have two products at Feeding America Southwest Virginia. We have food, obviously, but data is our second biggest product.”

Erich Geist says the backbone to that is their fiber link to the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority.

“Without that internet connection reliability, it would be very difficult for us to achieve our mission,” Geist.

Frank Smith, Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority President/CEO, said, “So it's not residential service, we're looking at mission-critical needs for the enterprise customer.”

Frank Smith with the Broadband Authority says Feeding America is one of more than three dozen major customers. Within the last year or so, they've added more than 25 miles of fiber and extra sites for reliability and reach.
He says prices for enterprise broadband have dropped 25-30 percent since they started in July 2016.

“And in some cases we're actually seeing the price get tighter since we're driving competition,” said Smith.

And in turn, Smith hopes it drives growth.
He believes more fiber in more places means more business moving to the Roanoke Valley.

“So we're glad to be a part of the ingredient of economic development here,” said Smith.

They also helped Eldor get connected to the network in Botetourt County earlier this year. Smith says there are more big announcements coming up in the next month or so