Alexandria’s city council in Virginia took its first vote Tuesday to grant access to two franchises to operate broadband internet service on cables the city is installing.
Until now, Comcast has been Alexandria’s sole cable option. But pending agreements with two internet service providers — Ting and Lumos Networks — would bring competition into the Northern Virginia city.
Vice Mayor Amy B. Jackson says officials are committed to providing affordable broadband internet access through a racial and social equity lens.
“The more wealthy side of the city doesn’t get some things that other sides of this great city need,” Jackson said during a council meeting on Tuesday. “These providers, as we move forward, do take that into account.”
Four companies had previously been shortlisted for consideration. The other two — Shentel and North American Tower Company — are no longer being considered or chose not to pursue the franchise.
As part of the deal, the two companies would commit to bolstering equitable broadband access, including by providing wireless access in selected city parks, and service to new development affordable units.
The council’s final vote to approve franchises for Lumos and Ting is set for this March.