NORFOLK, Va. - For a long time, residents in Norfolk have had limited options for internet access. Now, for the first time in more than 40 years, a new internet company will be coming to the Mermaid City. MetroNet will give Norfolk a new internet option.
“This fiber buildout will give residents greater access to high speed. It’s really going to be a game changer for us in attracting and obtaining businesses and attracting and obtaining talent in Norfolk,” Jared Chalk, the Director of Development for the City of Norfolk, said.
The big news was first announced during Mayor Kenny Alexander’s State of the City address this month.
“They currently offer one of the fastest internet services available anywhere within the United States. Through this partnership, Norfolk will be the first gigabit city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. MetroNet privately funds their own projects. They don’t look to the city for any financing."
Chalk says this will boost the city’s economy.
“You can start to see us coming in the fall of 2021. In the meantime, you’ll start to see MetroNet trucks coming in,” Kathy Scheller said, MetroNet’s Director of Government Relations.
Scheller says residents can expect to see service in Norfolk by the summer of 2022.
“Once we come into a community, design and start laying fiber, you’ll see different neighborhoods light up immediately. We don’t built the entire city and then flip a switch; we’ll start rolling into it," she said.
MetroNet will be the first company to offer 100% fiber internet access in Norfolk.
“Fiber is much different. Fiber is the way of the future. It’s reliable and stable in all weather conditions, whereas cable uses copper and electricity and sometimes cannot run those far speeds.” Chalk said.
He says more competition will benefit customers.
“Increased competition is going to put downward pressure on pricing. I think residents, businesses have been clamoring for competition. They want choices," Chalk explained.
News 3 did reach out to Cox Communications, which provided the following statement:
Cox is no stranger to competition; in Norfolk alone, there are competitors who like Cox, offer up to 1 gigabit of speed to residential customers. Over the past 10 years we’ve invested more than $2 billion in our infrastructure in Virginia, and all homes in our service area will have access to 10gig speeds in the near future. With nearly 1500 employees who live and work in Hampton Roads, Cox has proudly connected this region for more than 40 years. Our nationwide network includes thousands of miles of fiber in Hampton Roads and more than 200 in Norfolk alone, while providing critical access to the transatlantic fiber lines. Whether it’s access to ultra-highspeed internet or our low-cost broadband program, Connect2Compete at $9.95 per month, we’re ensuring everyone has the connection they need today. We look forward to providing the best value for our business and residential customers and remain committed to ongoing investments in our communities, including Norfolk through organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs and 757 Collab [pilotonline.com], to ensure the region remains a great place to live, work and play.