VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Global Technical Systems (GTS), a technology company based in Virginia Beach, will aid in operating a fiber-optic network ring that aims to bring ultrafast internet to Southside Hampton Roads, according to an announcement by the Southside Network Authority (SNA) on Tuesday. The SNA has reached an interim public-private partnership agreement with GTS for the operations, maintenance, and marketing of the 119-mile, 288-strand fiber ring.
The Southside Network Authority (SNA) announced that Global Technical Systems (GTS) will lease 96 strands of the fiber-optic ring, provide maintenance and marketing services, and serve various customers including residential and business customers, institutional users such as universities, schools, and health organizations, economic development efforts, and historically disadvantaged communities once the construction is completed.
The ring, which will connect the five Southside cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, and connect to Europe and Africa via transatlantic subsea fiber optic cables, allowing large files to cross the ocean quickly, was started almost a year ago in April 2022.
SNA has hailed the fiber-optic ring as a transformative development for Hampton Roads, claiming it will enable the region to attract high-tech businesses, boost military operations and extend internet access to underprivileged areas. Norfolk City Councilwoman Andria McClellan, who chairs the SNA, stated that the agreement with GTS is a crucial next step in “positioning Hampton Roads as a digital hub.”
McClellan added in a statement that “we are eager and excited about this unparalleled high-speed access to attract new high-tech business, to support our educational and research institutions, and to bring new internet service providers, with the goal of creating internet competition, lowering prices and increasing speeds for residents.” Additionally, with this new project will bring many fiber technician jobs to Virginia Beach and surrounding areas.
According to the SNA’s website, the ring is projected to become operational in late 2023, The SNA has awarded Danella Construction a $24.5 million contract to construct the ring over 18 months.