Gulf Coast Broadband Initiative gains momentum - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulf Coast Broadband Initiative gains momentum

F. Cliff Kirkland presents the Gulf Coast Broadband Initiative in a Biloxi City Council special meeting (Photo Source: WLOX News) F. Cliff Kirkland presents the Gulf Coast Broadband Initiative in a Biloxi City Council special meeting (Photo Source: WLOX News)
The proposed broadband initative would increase Internet speeds by a tenfold. (Photo Source: WLOX News) The proposed broadband initative would increase Internet speeds by a tenfold. (Photo Source: WLOX News)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Quicker Internet could be coming to coastal computers and mobile devices. Approval of the Gulf Coast Broadband Initiative may be on the horizon for South Mississippi.

The initiative continues to build momentum. In a special meeting, Biloxi city leaders debunked rumors about what exactly the initiative will do.

"We're not trying to be a service provider. We don't want to be a utility. We just want to help them deliver the service," said F. Cliff Kirkland, Biloxi chief innovation and development officer.

They've re-drafted the broadband proposal to the state, fixing some of the wording. Biloxi leaders want Mississippi to allocate $15 million from the BP settlement to build the Coast Fiber Optic Ring.

Now, they're waiting on a response.

"We're ready to construct the ring. Then, we'll deal with our Internet service providers to take it from the Coast wide to the individual users, the public, the businesses and the people all over the Coast," Kirkland said.

The Gulf Coast Fiber Optic Ring, which the city hopes will eventually expand over three counties and 12 coastal cities, is expected to increase Internet speeds by at least a tenfold.

Participating cities include Biloxi, Gulfport and D'Iberville. City leaders in Diamondhead and Long Beach are also considering joining in.

"Everything on the Internet is getting bigger, and more data is being consumed. And we need faster Internet to keep up with it," said Gustavo Dossantos, a Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College IT Student.

IT students at MGCCC say the initiative will have a positive impact on coastal businesses and residents.

"Working with the slow bandwidth, it hinders us. And I just feel that if we can finally get this fiber optic ring in, it's going to help us with school work. It's going to help us with streaming. It's going to help us video game people with our gaming. It's going to make it a lot easier to distribute proper Internet speed to everybody," said Hunter Levan, MGCCC IT student.

Initiative leaders held presentations in Long Beach and Diamondhead Tuesday evening. The councils from each city will vote to determine if they will join the commission.

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