City of Bridgeport to participate in Internet pilot program - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

City of Bridgeport to participate in Internet pilot program

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House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, applauded bold steps by the city of Bridgeport in providing residents with a huge boost in Internet speed.

Miley, in a press release, also urged other West Virginia communities to consider a similar approach.

The City of Bridgeport is participating in a pilot program which would connect 100 homes to a high speed fiber network, increasing Internet speeds up to 200 times faster than a typical broadband connection.

“This proposed pilot project carries tremendous potential to attract businesses and residents to Bridgeport,” Miley said. “High quality, affordable Internet access is vital to both our economic progress and our quality of life.”

Bridgeport-based company Citynet has agreed to maintain the network at no cost to the city. Bridgeport City Council, which must approve a $100,000 investment for material and equipment, is expected to take up the proposal Aug. 25.

“I challenge other cities to embrace this kind of innovative collaboration,” Miley added. “It's time to start looking for opportunities that invite us to rise up and meet our challenges in order to create future economic prosperity for the state, rather than looking for excuses as to why we can't be successful and blaming others in the process.

“If we continue to allow ourselves to only be focused on a few, traditional economic sectors as the panacea for economic prosperity in West Virginia, we will never realize our true economic potential,” he added. “The action being taken by the city of Bridgeport is a perfect example of how every community in West Virginia can embrace the future by mixing innovative ideas with technology.”

Kim Haws, Bridgeport city manager, said the city has always been at the forefront of economic development initiatives.

“We believe that access to high quality, affordable Internet has become an essential tool for economic development, enabling the city to better recruit businesses and residents to our city.” Haws said. “In addition, it certainly will add to the quality of life of our residents.”

The Bridgeport City Council will take action Aug. 25, on a $100,000 budget revision to fund the capital investment in the project covering the cost of material and equipment necessary to power the system. Upon council's approval, the City will begin the RFQ process to select the material and equipment supplier.

The purpose of this innovative project is to help residents with their internet needs. It will also help encourage business and economic development, enhance community safety and emergency capabilities, expand healthcare services and provide for future educational opportunities.

The pilot program area will consist of the following streets: Vista, Valley, Village, and part of Ridgeway. Residents should have the opportunity to sign up for this high speed internet services by January 1, 2015 for a price ranging from $5 to $75. These fees collected from the project will be used to defray material and equipment cost of the pilot project.