Andy Seibel 


Between discussions with my friends that live outside of broadband-enabled ares, and the rise in discussion about access for students learning from home, it weighs on me heavily that we have so much land area in Hampton Roads without access to broadband internet in 2020.

I saw recently that the City of Suffolk is working with Charter to expand Cable High Speed Internet access to a few areas, as well as working with mobile carriers to expand (what I assume will be LTE) access to some rural areas. These are both good measures.

Is there any interest in rolling out WiMAX (a wireless broadband access standard) to rural areas? WiMAX is usually a line-of-sight technology that would prove challenging for the flat land with tall trees we have in Hampton Roads. However, this issue isn't insurmountable. WiMAX would be a fairly inexpensive and fast technology to roll out, especially if municipalities backed it by lending antenna space on their infrastructure. A coalition between municipalities and local businesses, combined with the potential for federal grants, could make this a long-term, sustainable technology to bring all of our citizens online.



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Douglas L. Smith Doug Smith
Andy - let’s get you connected with Steven DeBerry the new Exec Director of the Southside Network Authority.  His email is
I believe he can give you a full response. 
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Chris Morello cmorelloIOW
WiMAX seems to thrive where towers can broadcast down from an elevated range, as might be found in parts west.  
Just a local perspective and illustration that might be useful as part of a larger study of this very interesting topic for ED professionals:

We considered here in Isle of Wight various approaches to WiMAX, with the aid of our rural electric cooperative (REC), who argued the same about geography and trees and favored using their facilities to either hang fiber and direct-connect to homes, or broadcast to mulitple homes from well-placed boxes on poles. We even felt we had an advantage with the existence of 5 new towers in the county erected to assist e911 operational consolidation & task sharing with other localities.  A serious disadvantage seems to be return transmissions to the tower.  In other words, streaming in to a home can be achieved at high rates, but streaming back takes serious power.  
Even with wired approaches, in the end, our REC could not make the numbers work toward affordable service at the household unless the County injected millions.  The result over the last year is that we are actively on the hunt for funds and corporate partners looking for the same, and currently working with another neighboring REC (believe it or not - our REC was just fine with that!) after applying together for state money administered by DHCD.  That REC is able to pilot getting several hundred customers wired up to rural residents to broadband using existing poles.   So the story is still unfolding, but so far WiMAX will not be part of it.  Sure wish it could be, so very interested in how it might be deployed as part of a broader strategy.
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Andy Seibel 
I could see the uplinks being a weak spot. When it’s feasible, fiber is the way to go, it’s just a heck of a capital investment.

I think it would be fun to do a small-scale trial, and would be pretty cheap.
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