During Aug 27th ‘s regular board member, Botetourt County Board of Supervisors opened a public hearing on the creation of the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority (RVBA.) Across the valley, Roanoke County and the Cities of Roanoke and Salem were also considering the matter. However, this became the public hearing prior to the real public hearing in September. Confusing? Yes.
According to Kathleen Guzi, County Administrator, this public hearing was necessary, but recommended a delay so there would be time to make sure there is satisfaction of the letter of the law. “An abundance of caution,” was mentioned as a reason for the delay. County attorney Elizabeth Dillon concurred. Pure and simple, it will be September before the Supervisors vote and hold a second public hearing on the RVBA. Over in Salem, they did the same thing.
Dave Price who is a retired executive from Blue Ridge spoke to the pros of the formation of the RVBA. “It would give more people access and different choices in providers,” he said.
Indeed much of the county does not have broadband accessibility. A resident that is more than 3.5 miles from the server router especially in rural areas, does not have broadband access.
However, Botetourt County does have availability as broadband runs down US 220 north to Fincastle and across Grove Hill Road into Craig County. The line is currently untapped. Continued from Craig County to Blacksburg, the broadband route would have economic impact. Virginia Tech has been instrumental in the encouragement of the RVBA said William Fralin previously who came to the county with the proposal several months ago.
Guzi told the Board of Supervisors, “The authority will encourage the ability for residents to receive affordable broadband. It also is an economic development need. It will not be a quick fix.”