Broadband in Alexandria

Page updated on Jan 19, 2022 at 11:41 AM

Alexandria is a place where technology thrives and is an integral part of doing business. Attracted by a business-friendly and fiscally responsible government (one of only a select group in the country with at least two AAA bond ratings), one of the most educated workforces in the United States, and an outstanding quality of life, more than 200 technology companies, employing approximately 10,000, call Alexandria home.

Broadband Franchise Proposals

The City has worked for several years to address the ever-growing demand for more broadband options for the community. With the primary goals of the City’s municipal broadband initiative to connect the government facilities and to support broadband competition and access for all of our community, the City has continued to explore options for leveraging city assets and partnering with the private sector. For government and school facilities, the City continues to make progress constructing the City’s municipal fiber optic network to connect 90 City facilities, including schools and libraries. 

A number of internet service providers and broadband infrastructure companies have reached out to the City to express new or renewed interest in providing additional broadband services to City residents, businesses and other organizations. The franchise proposal process provides a formal path for potential vendors to propose how they would use the City’s right of way to work with the City to build and provide broadband services to City residents. 

Municipal Fiber Groundbreaking 2021-08-23 Council Members

Municipal Fiber Project

The City plans to construct its own fiber backbone infrastructure (broadband network) to support broadband services among the City's public institutions, including schools, libraries, public safety buildings, and other City facilities.  The current institutional network, or " I-Net," which was the first network of its kind in Virginia, now connects nearly 90 municipal and educational facilities and is largely leased from Comcast.

In addition to improving connectivity among City facilities and sites, the Municipal Fiber project will create potential partnership opportunities to expand consumer choice and increase available speeds for broadband services available in Alexandria. In response to consistent feedback regarding the lack of options for cable television and broadband Internet services, the City has actively pursued other potential providers. With the construction of the new fiber optic network, the City is planning to seek new partners who could lease excess conduit space to provide broadband service to residents and businesses. This would allow all providers to compete fairly and would encourage providers to offer consumer services. 

Because digging and burying conduit is a significant cost of building a fiber network, the City is taking all reasonable opportunities to lay conduit wherever current digging projects are already underway and align with the municipal fiber construction. This approach strives to avoid unnecessary impacts on neighborhoods and businesses.  

Project Activity

  • August 2021 - On Monday, August 23, the City broke ground on construction of the Municipal Fiber Network in front of the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria's Vola Lawson Animal Shelter - one of the project's first four construction sites. For more information, see Construction Schedule.
  • April 2021 - The City has awarded the contract for the construction of the Municipal Fiber Network to Jones Utilities Construction INC. Construction is anticipated to begin in summer and will take approximately four years to complete. Procurement details can be found here; the bid number is 938
  • November 2020 - The Invitation to Bid (ITB) for the construction of the City’s Municipal Fiber Network has been reissued. Vendors interested in responding to the ITB and other interested parties  will find more information and may register to bid online; the bid number is 938.
  • March 2020 - The City has cancelled Invitation to Bid (ITB) NO.857: Municipal Fiber Network Construction without award. Bid(s) received in response to the ITB exceeded available funds. It is the City's intent to evaluate and revise the specifications and issue a new solicitation in the coming months.
  • November 2019 - The Invitation to Bid (ITB) for the construction of the City’s Municipal Fiber Network has been issued. Vendors interested in responding to the ITB and other interested parties will find more information and may register to bid online; the bid number is 857.
  • August 2019 - The system backbone design is complete. This design addresses the City’s connectivity for City buildings, public schools, libraries and public safety communication needs. The project schedule was adjusted to allow time to explore opportunities to maximize the impact of the City’s investment in fiber, by modifying the design to align with the City's Smart Mobility transportation improvement initiatives. The Invitation to Bid (ITB) is now anticipated to be posted in the coming weeks.  Vendors may register their interest in responding to the ITB online. Resources: City backbone mapCity facilities list
  • January 2019 - Staff are still working with the stakeholders and industry experts on the overall fiber optic network design.  Once the design is finalized the next step in the process is post an Invitation to Bid (ITB).  Staff anticipate early spring to issue an ITB.  
  • December 2018 - In late 2018, the City once again confirmed with Verizon representatives that Verizon is not seeking additional FIOS cable franchise agreements with other jurisdictions at this time. 

  • March 2018 - The City contracted with consulting and engineering company CTC Technology and Energy to design the City’s municipal fiber network. CTC has significant experience in this area and has completed similar projects for state and local governments in recent years. The engineering design of the fiber network infrastructure has begun with the participation of all stakeholders. The targeted timeframe for completing the design phase is January 2019.  After the engineering design is completed, an invitation for bid will be issued for the construction of the municipal network.
  • The City is preparing an Invitation to Bid (ITB) to build its own fiber backbone infrastructure (broadband network).  Vendors or other interested parties may  register through eProcure to be notified when an ITB becomes available. 

Project Schedule

Current Phase: Construction

  • Start Date: August 23, 2021
  • End Date: February 6, 2025 (Anticipated)

Active Project Locations

Construction Impacts

Access to buildings, driveways, and parking lots will be maintained at all times. Crews will also be on site to direct traffic during construction hours.

Broadband History

The Alexandria City Council and City staff have worked consistently to encourage consumer broadband choice.  Following are key milestones in these efforts in recent years:

  • 12/04/2020: City of Alexandria Issues Invitation to Bid for Construction of Municipal Fiber Network ( News Release)
  • 09/27/2016: Alexandria City Council Directs Next Steps to Expand Consumer Broadband Choice ( News Release | Docket Items)
  • 07/27/2015: City of Alexandria Solicits Ideas for Municipal and Community Broadband Improvements
  • 04/28/2015: City Staff Presents on Review of Broadband Alternatives ( Presentation)
  • 10/22/2013: Councilman Justin Wilson Submits Memorandum on Broadband Strategy ( Memorandum)
  • 03/09/2010: Alexandria City Council Authorizes Application for Google Fiber Network ( News Release | Docket Memo)
  • 03/09/2010: City of Alexandria Receives Notice from Verizon of End to New FiOS Deployments (Letter)
  • 12/09/2008: Alexandria City Council Authorizes Termination of Franchise Agreement with EarthLink, Inc. ( Docket Memo)
  • 11/29/2006: Alexandria City Council Supports Citywide Wireless Franchise Award (News Release)
  • 06/27/2006: Alexandria City Council Receives Proposals for Citywide Wireless Network ( Docket Memo)

Additional Information