6580 Valley Center Dr. • Ste 124 • Radford, VA 24141 • 540-639-9313

Broadband Initiative in Montgomery County

The results of the broadband surveys for Montgomery County and the Towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg are in. At a series of presentations, local councils and boards learned the key findings about users’ behaviors, experience and needs for internet access.

Of the 1,800 people who completed the survey, most were full-time residents who believe internet access is important. About half of the respondents use their internet connection for school and job training purposes. With higher speeds, many users would use their connection for voice-over-internet-phone, videoconferencing and hosting a website, along with current popular uses of email, shopping and news. When customers are not entirely satisfied with their current Internet Service Provider (ISP), the reasons are largely the same – connections are too slow or do not offer enough bandwidth, the price is too high, and/or service is unreliable.

When asked what role local government should play in improving broadband delivery, most respondents want governments to encourage more choice and competition among private providers. This finding is encouraging in light of our local leaders interest and willingness to work with ISPs on improving efficiencies in the permitting process as well as working on private-public partnerships to deploy broadband in unserved areas while improving speed and reliability in areas currently served. In fact, the next steps are to have specific discussions with ISPs to determine where partnering may be possible to expand service or make improvements for existing customers in the near future.

For further information, please contact Christy Straight (cstraight@nrvrc.org), 540-639-9313, ext. 209.