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Roanoke Valley Broadband AuthorityIn July, Roanoke County approved funding to build a 25-mile, $3.4 million expansion of the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority’s (RVBA) fiber network. Once finished, the total network will cover 72 miles throughout the cities of Roanoke and Salem, and the Counties of Botetourt and Roanoke. The Roanoke County expansion will run near 650 commercial properties.

Roanoke County leaders have said that the network’s current course misses several key commercial clusters in the county. The county’s design of the additional 25 miles of fiber hits areas such as Virginia 419 between Tanglewood Mall and Salem and the town of Vinton.

In May, the authority completed construction of the initial 47 miles of high speed broadband and now customers such as Virginia Western Community College, Advanced Logic Industries, Blue Ridge PBS, and others are actively using the fiber network.

The county has also agreed to contribute annually for the authority’s broadband operating costs for six years or until the network breaks even. Frank Smith, RVBA President/CEO, said the authority plans to bid the expansion sometime in September, with hopes that a contract is awarded the following month. Construction is expected to start in late 2016 and finish before mid-2017.

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