VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) – The city is in the process of partnering with tech company Wildfire5g to give citizens in Hampton Roads an affordable option for high-speed internet.
Wildfire5g is partnering with Microsoft in a mission to connect rural Americans and people who live in underserved communities to high-speed wireless broadband. It is a no contract, no credit check service. For $19.99 a month, customers can get up to 100 megabits of service per second.
Councilman Ben Davenport convinced Wildfire5g to start its first major pilot program in Hampton Roads. It will begin servicing the Campus East and Lake Edwards communities, then branch out to other cities, eventually reaching the entire Hampton Roads region.
“They’re using groundbreaking technology that’s transformative. This technology is a hybrid wireless network that will use fiber, LTE, and TV white space,” Davenport said.
In addition to offering customers affordable options, the company is aiming to give every student a free account. The goal is to help close the homework gap. The city of Virginia Beach is working to provide every public school student with a tablet by 2019. But for students whose families can’t afford internet, completing homework assignments can be tough.
“The tablet-- once you get home is worthless unless you have Wi-Fi. This homework gap is very real in the city of Virginia Beach, so that tablet that they (students) have they will have a Wildfire account and have access to high-speed broadband, which will allow them to download assignments, research homework, and compete with everybody else in the country,” Davenport said.
“For those who don’t have the privilege of having access to computers and everything, it's really good for them to start getting that (internet) because in this day and age, everything is technology-based,” parent Tarshita Bryant said.
The city of Virginia Beach is currently working on partnership agreements to bring Wildfire5g into the area. The company hopes to have everyone in Campus East and Lake Edwards connected by the end of this year.