HAMPTON ROADS – Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton and Williamsburg have all been designated as top digital cities in the Center for Digital Government’s 2016 Digital Cities Survey.
Virginia Beach claimed the number one spot in the ‘500,000 or more population’ category. Contributing to that ranking is the announcement that the city will create its own high-speed internet network to connect nearly 60 government facilities, saving the city over $500,000 per year in lease line costs. Virginia Beach was also selected as the home of the first transatlantic fiber cable station. Microsoft and Facebook have partnered up with Telefonica to lay the cable, called MAREA, from Virginia to Bilbao, Spain.
In the ‘125,000 – 249,999 population’ category, the City of Hampton and the City of Norfolk were both ranked in the top ten, coming in at 4th and 9th, respectively.
The City of Hampton moved up three spots from their seventh-place ranking in 2015. The survey lists the city’s efforts to work with open data tools, a relaunch of the city’s website that focuses on the mobile experience, and new digital collaboration efforts.
The City of Norfolk was recognized for their efforts in expanding the fiber infrastructure, increasing public access to Wi-Fi, encouraging open government data, implementing business systems to help facilitate residents and businesses with transactions, and constantly leveraging new technology. The survey highlights Norfolk’s vast digital offerings, including an active YouTube channel, newsletters, surveys, social media, and their focus on cybersecurity.
In the ‘Up to 75,000 population’ category, the City of Williamsburg ranked 3rd. The survey praises the city’s three-member IT department and their efforts to modernize the city’s computers and equipment.
These top-ranked cities will receive an award on November 17 at the National League of Cities’ annual conference in Pittsburgh.