Broadband internet is essential to our everyday lives whether we are connecting to our workplace, our children are connecting with their teachers or we are streaming our favorite shows on Netflix, we rely on high speed internet. Mid-Atlantic Broadband is a leader in creating unique public-private partnerships to build and operate open-access fiber networks. MBC has built nearly 2,000 route miles of fiber in Southern Virginia to bring competition and drive down costs to accelerate digital inclusiveness. Discover how they have provided this extensive infrastructure stretching the distance from Southern Virginia to Yellowstone National Park.
What would you like to share about your business or organization with our members?
MBC is an innovative non-profit created in 2004 with a mission to drive regional economic development through our open-access middle-mile fiber network and reinvesting in the communities we serve. We currently own and operate over 1,900 miles of fiber.
What’s an interesting fact about your business most people don’t know?
If you laid all MBC fiber cable that has been built in Southern Virginia end to end, it would stretch from South Boston, Virginia to Yellowstone National Park!
Why did you become involved in the SPTC?
As a telecommunications company with a mission to revitalize the Southern Virginia economy, MBC is a technology company at its core and a strong believer in the state’s technology councils’ important role in economic development. Our mission is well-aligned with the SPTC’s mission to further the economic vitality of the Southern Piedmont region by developing and promoting the region’s technology resources.
How does being a member of the SPTC help you?
The SPTC provides valuable networking and professional development opportunities for our staff through its membership events and trainings. The SPTC also is helpful in distributing our news and other important information to their membership.
What challenges are you facing that the SPTC may be able to assist with?
In 2020, MBC created the SOVA Innovation Hub non-profit in partnership with Microsoft TechSpark. We look forward to partnering with the SPTC as the SOVA Innovation Hub develops and launches new programs to encourage digital skills and entrepreneurship in the eastern part of the SPTC service area. The SPTC can assist by informing and collaborating on program development and help publicize the programs.
What technology innovation have you uncovered prior, during, or post the COVID-19 pandemic?
In June 2020, MBC and QTS Realty Trust (NYSE: QTS), a leading provider of hybrid colocation and mega scale data center solutions, announced the successful implementation of an initial field trial that demonstrated 200 gigabits per second coherent transmission over a 50 gigahertz (GHz) channel on an existing MBC long-haul route. The field trial showcased MBC’s ability to easily and cost-effectively scale its current wholesale optical transport network to meet growing capacity demands and route diversity requirements at the QTS Richmond NAP.
The new capacity uses MBC’s latest line system technology, providing multiple 200G alien wavelength transmission. MBC’s open-access network approach allowed a different optical vendor to utilize MBC’s existing line system, thus maximizing options and providing more granular control for native and alien waves. The field trial showcased the ability of MBC and QTS to work together, even during a pandemic, to scale a solution to meet immediate demand and diversity requirements.
What positive impact have you witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Without a doubt, COVID-19 has accelerated the transformation to a digital economy, making ubiquitous access to broadband even more essential. While we look forward to in-person gatherings in the future, we are certain that the reliance on technology for work, education, healthcare, and daily life will not decrease from here. This accelerated digitization is a positive impact because it has brought important conversations about digital equity into the spotlight.
Name one thing tech-related that you have learned in the last month?
We are excited to be learning about FarmBeats (an agriculture AI platform), the Holo Lens (mixed reality glasses), and the Surface Hub (large touchscreen that runs Windows operating system). All this technology will soon be available for the community to explore in the Microsoft Experience Center, which is inside the SOVA Innovation Hub’s new facility in South Boston.
The SPTC Board of Directors are excited to share the good news that’s happening with all of our members.