Virginia Beach installs solar-powered smart poles to combat digital disparities

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach city officials have installed new solar-powered smart poles to expand broadband access, and “combat digital disparities.”

Virginia Beach recently installed the two solar-powered smart poles at the Pungo-Blackwater Library and the future site of the Virginia African American Cultural Center (VAACC). Both are situated in underserved communities.

City officials applied for and received Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to cover the associated costs for one year.

Members of the VAACC say they are proud to have the poles in an effort to help address the current virtual needs of local youths and families.

The VACC is partnering with Virginia Beach’s IT Department and their broadband consultant to install a smart pole on its property at 744 Hampshire Lane (near the basketball courts).

The city of Hampton has installed similar poles in 2020.

Beyond providing internet hotspots, the 24-foot poles are outfitted with LED lighting and designed to resemble regular streetlamps.

Last month, Mayor Bobby Dyer delivered his 2021 State of the City address, which underscored how technology will guide the City’s future beyond the pandemic.

officials say broadband expansion aligns with the City’s commitment to advancing education, economic development, and other key areas.

The smart poles are a quick and convenient way for citizens to access high-speed internet, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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