In today’s technology-driven age, access to high-speed broadband and wireless internet technology is essential to continued economic development and growth. That’s why we welcome efforts by the Bluefield Board of Directors to make Bluefield the first “gigabyte city” in our immediate area.
The plans were announced earlier this week by Bluefield City Manager Dane Rideout, who said the vision grew out of a recent meeting with Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, who is also a native of Bluefield.
“In advertising and the recruitment of new businesses, and in businesses that want to expand, it is all about your connectivity to the internet and becoming a gigabyte city is huge,” Rideout said last week. “That’s one of the things we are pursuing. We had the mayor of Huntington visit and he brought a lot of cutting-edge ideas to the table. Two things that they want to do we are already doing. That’s a commercialization station and becoming a gigabyte city.”
The plan will be implemented in several phases with the first phase focusing on the downtown area. This includes the creation of a downtown “hot spot,” or an area where Wi-Fi connectivity is readily available, in the downtown area.
“Now, I can go with somebody who’s got wireless technology,” Rideout said. “Now, you make it better for the business owners. Better reliability. It’s all about reducing their cost. Good competition is good for business. Also, when people come to our city, we’re going to create a hot spot downtown. How many times do you go to a restaurant and everybody’s on their iPhone’s? It links to tourism. It links to businesses. It’s great for businesses.”
We agree. And all efforts must be made to help attract and create additional business growth in the city.
The gigabyte city concept is another important tool that can help with attracting and retaining businesses in our region.