Chesapeake's Broadband Initiative - Chesapeake Connects
Chesapeake's Broadband Initiative, Chesapeake Connects, is moving our City into the future by providing the necessary infrastructure to compete and lead in the region and beyond. Chesapeake Connects will enhance education, improve public safety response, expand health care, and spur economic development.
What Is Broadband?
In simple terms, broadband is the infrastructure that makes it possible for us to send and receive digital information at high speeds over the internet. Think of it like a highway. Right now, our information highway here in Chesapeake is limited to only a few lanes. That can cause congestion and backups. Chesapeake's Broadband Initiative will construct the infrastructure necessary to provide additional lanes to the highway, making it quicker, faster, and more efficient for users. The infrastructure is an underground network of fibers that will be laid in a "ring" formation throughout the City, with the option to connect to the larger regional ring, a project that is also currently underway.
What This Project Entails
Just like with many construction projects throughout the City, Chesapeake will be working with a contractor to design the broadband ring (as in, determine where and how the physical cables will be laid). Once design is complete, construction will begin. When construction is complete, the project will roll into its next phase which will include managing and maintaining the ring while opening it up for schools, government buildings, and businesses.
What Is Not Part of This Project
Chesapeake Connects will install the citywide infrastructure, it will not provide broadband service to homes or businesses directly. That service will come from private companies. Having the local ring in place will make it more attractive and economical for commercial firms to offer broadband service to homes. Continuing the analogy of a road, you might think of it this way: the City builds the streets, but a private company constructs your home's driveway, connecting your house to the road.
The capabilities of Chesapeake's broadband ring will be made even greater with the construction of a larger regional ring, connecting localities throughout Hampton Roads.
The project is estimated to cost $32.58 million to design, construct, deploy the ring, and migrate sites to it. It is currently funded in part through the Capital Improvement Plan, with $25 million coming from the American Rescue Plan Grant and $3 million from the General Fund.
The Chesapeake Broadband Ring will decrease the City's contracted network service costs from $1.38 million to $243,454 by Year 5. New operating costs will total $1.52 million in Year 5 to cover staffing, hardware/software maintenance, and data center collocation and edge services.
There will be three main construction phases of this project, each constructing a different section of the overall Chesapeake Ring.
- Construction on Phases 1 and 2 begins in the summer of 2022
- Construction on Phase 3 begins in the summer of 2023
- Project Completion at the end of 2024