So, those in Roanoke are in desperate need for additional broadband competition. At the moment, Roanoke and surrounding cities have “little competition, high costs and low connection speeds.”
They have begged other providers to come to no avail and are now hoping for a municipal broadband program. Apparently, Cox and Comcast disagree and claimed to the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority that they are in fact meeting the “region’s Internet needs.”
Of course, minutes later, the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission presented data that showed Roanoke’s metropolitan area being far behind national averages for Internet availability and ranked 7th out of 11 metro areas in Virginia for next-generation Internet speeds. According to the city’s report, 8 percent of the Roanoke population has access to fiber, compared to 24 percent nationally.
“Roanoke ranks 10th out of those 11 areas when it comes to basic Internet access, and 409th out of 429 U.S. metros in the same category.” – Roanoke.com
In fact, Salem’s mayor was quite blunt in his review of the current providers:
“I know for a fact that some of the speeds they say are available for businesses in Salem are not available.” – Roanoke.com
It is not just Roanoke but Salem and Botetourt counties want to join Roanake in building an $8.2 million, 60-mile open access fiber optic cable network that would deliver internet to businesses in four jurisdictions.
After being presented with all of this, Comcast and Cox gave the typical PR responses about how much they love the area and how they provide awesome service.