Alexandria is moving forward with its long-awaited broadband network — and potentially breaking Comcast’s internet monopoly — with a shortlist of potential broadband internet providers.
At a City Council meeting on Tuesday, the City Council approve the receipt of four broadband franchise proposals.
The companies that put in bids for consideration are:
The four companies have submitted proposals to construct and maintain a broadband system in Alexandria and will move into review by city staff. Vanetta Pledger, Alexandria’s chief information officer and director of information technology services, said that city staff will complete a review of the proposals and send its findings back to the City Council.
As the city moves forward with the development of a broadband network, City Council member Alyia Gaskins reiterated that work needs to be done to ensure equitable access across the city.
“I was really excited to see the previous Council made it explicit our commitment to equity as part of our search,” Gaskins said. “We all know that equity only works when we’re all very clear about what our digital equity needs are and so making sure that we understand where are specific problems, where are the gaps, what experience did our small businesses or schools have during this pandemic. It would be my hope that the city manager and city attorney really have some clear guidelines about how we are looking at and measuring digital equity as part of our review process.”
Deputy City Manager Laura Triggs said equity will be one of the main topics under consideration as the city reviews the four proposals.
“The next steps for us are to review the proposals that we get and we will look to see what is fair and equitable to the city, what is responsive, and what’s the best for our citizens,” Triggs said. “We’re excited about this. We’re happy to see that we have a lot of proposals, but we also know that’s a lot of things for us to consider, but we look forward to the next steps.”