During his address, he laid out how fiber optics can be the key to taking the city to the next level when it comes to broadband innovation.
News 25’s Bryan Kennedy has the details.
City Attorney Gerald Blessey told coast leaders that the quality of internet in Biloxi all depends on where you live and how much you make. New fiber optic wiring, he says, would level the cyber playing field.
“The digital divide is so important. Minorities, people in poor neighborhoods, not only should not be over-looked, they should have the ease of cheap, high-speed broadband,” said Blessey.
Broadband, city leaders believe, can grow economic development. High-speed broadband would be available to Biloxi companies and they’d offer it to their customers.
The city’s next step is figuring out the cost and how to pay for it. “I think it’s doable in the near term because we have this opportunity with the state’s BP economic losses fund. It’s a one-time chance to make an investment,” said Blessey
The city of Biloxi is currently undergoing a large infrastructure project. Roads are being torn up all across town to make repairs to water and sewage drainage. The city believes this is the perfect time to lay new fiber optic cables.
Vincent Creel, city of Biloxi Public Affairs Manager, said, “It’s going to be difficult to do because it’s all FEMA approved. And the wheels are already turning, the construction has already begun, but what he wants to do is dig once.”
City leaders believe this is a win-win for everyone. “And not only is it going to be economic development, but it’s going to be quality of life. Our school system needs this. The medical system needs this. The casino industry needs this,” said Creel.
Creel tells News 25 Biloxi Mayor FoFo Gilich has already pitched the project to Governor Phil Bryant, a project that has captured the interest of the governor.
The city says they don’t have a timeline for the project, but if it coincides with the current infrastructure project, it will need to happen within the next three years.