Virginia Beach exploring establishment of broadband internet authority

Posted at 7:35 PM, Mar 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-20 19:35:15-04

Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) - The City of Virginia Beach is exploring the establishment of a broadband internet authority.

A resolution introduced by Councilman Ben Davenport was approved by City Council on Tuesday, March 17.

It directs city staff to study the idea of creating the broadband internet authority, either alone or as part of a regional group, which could spread ultra-high-speed internet throughout Virginia Beach.

Davenport, who spent much of his campaign for council last year promoting the idea, says it could be the catalyst for a city plan to promote Virginia Beach as a biomedical research hub.

"To really become a research hub, we are going to be competing against other hubs – Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte, Atlanta, Georgia. All of those cities have abundant affordable ultra-high speed internet," he told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo Friday.

A task force made recommendations in February on the best ways to develop biomedical industries in Virginia Beach, which is the top of seven priorities set by City Council for 2015.

One action the task force recommended was enhancing regional broadband connectivity,  “allowing researchers to perform more in-depth analysis in fields including bioinformatics and data analytics.”

"Once we are able to confidently go out there and say not only do we have it in this area, but it’s affordable and it’s competitive, then we think we will have an edge over a lot of the other cities," Davenport said.

Later this year, City Council will consider transferring 155 acres of city-owned property on Princess Anne Road to creat the bio-related business park.