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Alexandria may have found its Comcast competitors

The City of Alexandria may have landed on agreements with two internet service providers to run broadband networks and open up the competition with the current internet monopoly: Comcast.

In January, the city announced that four companies had been shortlisted to operate a broadband internet service on cables the city was laying down alongside the new municipal network. An update scheduled for the Tuesday, Feb. 22, will as the City Council to approve right-of-way franchises to Lumos Telephone, Inc. and Ting, Inc.

One of the earlier options, Shentel, said they were no longer pursuing the franchise and North American Tower Company was listed as no longer being considered for the franchise.

The right-of-way franchises will allow the service providers to use a fiber network being laid by the city with certain stipulations. Part of the agreement involves “equitable access” terms, including:

  •  Ensure the broadband network passes every dwelling and business in the rightof-way
  • Provide access and monthly service for affordable housing units
  • Provide service to new development affordable units
  • Provide service to community service partners who serve residents in most need of broadband service
  • Provide wireless access in selected City parks

The agreements come after a long series of false starts for the city on finding a competitor to Comcast, with plans for a fiber network going back at least a decade. The city finally broke ground on the project last August, with construction of the network expected to take around four years.