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Blacksburg Broadband Initiative

Family using electronic devices at a tableThe Town of Blacksburg is working on an initiative to bring world class broadband infrastructure to our community. This infrastructure is a critical utility for quality of life, just as roads, water, sewer, and electricity are to every home, business, non-profit, government, and educational institution. The Blacksburg community should have the opportunity to connect easily, securely, and affordably to a robust high speed broadband system. It is Blacksburg’s role to facilitate the investment of this infrastructure through the private sector.

Our goals are to:

  • Provide accessible and affordable high speed broadband connections to the public;
  • Work to establish a non-discriminatory, open access infrastructure that to the extent feasible, would be available to all users;
  • Facilitate a local broadband marketplace that is competitive to potential service providers; and
  • Provide businesses with the broadband capacity, affordability and local, regional and national connectivity they need to compete successfully in the global marketplace. 

A joint survey between the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Montgomery County, New River Regional Commission, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, and The Blacksburg Partnership was created to determine how residents and businesses feel about their current internet service. The localities are considering how they can create efficiencies and reduce costs for providers as well as determining local broadband need. The survey collected data to better establish how well existing service matches up to these needs and how the localities may proceed to recruit potential service providers to our area. Read the results of the survey. (PDF)

What Kind of Speed Will My Household Need?

Here are some general guidelines to help you determine the speed that best suits your household demand:

17 Mbps - Ideal for browsing and downloading

  • Great for small households
  • Good for multiple devices online
  • 30 mins to download an HD movie
  • Good to stream online TV

38 Mbps - Great for multi user downloading & streaming

  • Ideal for families with many devices
  • Better for multiple devices online
  • 15 min to download an HD movie
  • Better to stream online TV

76 Mbps - Best for multi-user downloading & streaming

  • Ideal for speed freak families with many devices
  • Best for multiple devices online
  • Eight minutes to download an HD movie
  • The best to stream online TV

Internet connection speed

Time to load a typical web page

Time to download a typical 5 minute song

Streaming video quality

56k dial-up modem

14 seconds

12 mins 30 secs

Low quality

256k broadband

3 seconds

3 mins

512k broadband

1.6 seconds

1 min 30 secs

1Mbps broadband

0.8 seconds

41 secs

2Mbps broadband

0.4 seconds

20 secs

Medium quality

4Mbps broadband

0.1 seconds

5 secs

6Mbps broadband


3.5 secs

8Mbps broadband


2.5 secs

TV quality

12Mbps broadband


1 sec

24Mbps broadband



Super fast

50Mbps broadband



100Mbps broadband



+100Mbps broadband



Ultra fast


If you’d like to complete more than one of these tasks at the same time, just add up how many Mbps it will take.

Helpful resources for potential service providers:

Broadband Overview (PDF)

Land Use Map Series (PDF)

Blacksburg Land Use Map (PDF)

Fiber and Other Assets (PDF)

Blacksburg Population Density Map( PDF)

Blacksburg Demographic Data (PDF)

Light Pole Locations (PDF)

For additional information:

Chris Lawrence, Deputy Town Manager for Community Development, 540-443-1005.


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