New high-speed internet will compete with Cox, turn Norfolk into the state’s first ‘gigabit city’

Norfolk

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — In Norfolk’s Villa Heights neighborhood, residents young and old say they have had it with spotty internet service.

City of Norfolk officials heard their cries for help and help is on the way.

In his annual State of the City address, Norfolk Mayor Dr. Kenneth Alexander Thursday announced a new partnership with Indiana-based MetroNet that will bring high-speed internet, voice, and video services via a 100% fiber-optic infrastructure. It’s faster than you can say “TikTok.”

In his annual State of the City, the mayor also offered a few details about the deal, which will create a competing internet provider in the area for Cox.

“MetroNet privately funds their own projects; they don’t look to the city for funding,” he said.

The timing is critical. Because of the pandemic, children are learning from home while parents are earning from home. The mayor added the technology upgrade will also bring jobs to the area.

“They are ready to start construction this year, as Norfolk is on the path to becoming a gigabit city,” said Alexander.

Across the board, Alexander also offered an upbeat assessment of the Mermaid City. While many restaurants have closed, Norfolk served up a helping of openings including Brothers in downtown Norfolk.

Military Circle saw its most action in years when the former Macy’s was turned into a vaccination clinic. Sentara opened a new cancer center and next year the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters will open a mental health facility.

The city purchased what was once a retail mecca at Military Circle Mall, and it is evaluating several redevelopment proposals.

“We look forward to evaluating ideas for the design of an inclusive healthy and sustainable mixed-use community from our selected development teams by the end of this summer,” said Alexander.

The entrance to Military Circle mall in March 2019 (WAVY photo/Brett Hall)

The Carnival Magic arrives in 2022, there’s more port expansion. Norfolk International Airport will also take off with a runway renovation in 2023.

“We remain focused and dedicated to bringing more air service to our airport … please stay tuned,” Alexander said.

A new airline may have Norfolk on its radar. As business travel is down, a start-up airline is looking for an underserved market for point-to-point leisure destinations.

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