Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The Highland Park neighborhood will soon have free broadband. Here’s the deal

(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Pexels)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Pexels)

Officials this week announced Williamsburg will provide free broadband to the Highland Park neighborhood.

It will be a six-month pilot program that will start at the end of the year, thanks to $192,023 from the CARES Act money.

The city received the money from the $30 million CARES Act funding Gov. Ralph Northam allocated to improve broadband access in underserved localities, according to a news release from the city.

The pilot program in Highland Park will begin by the end of the year. Additional details concerning enrollment will be available in the coming weeks, officials said.

“The future of connectivity in Williamsburg is wireless, and we see broadband access as necessary as trash collection or water service,” Mayor Doug Pons said in a prepared statement. “This pilot program will demonstrate that we can overcome the affordability of service and lack of infrastructure that often leave people underserved.”

City Council made increasing broadband access for residents in its 2019-2020 Goals, Initiatives, and Outcomes document. In the past two years, the city researched the possibility of installing its own fiber network, but that option proved cost prohibitive.

Several months ago, the city approached Verizon wireless about using its wireless network as the backbone of broadband service in Williamsburg and worked with other hardware vendors on a solution to provide an in- home router with Verizon Wireless connectivity, officials said.


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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