Design Nine Announces The Wired Road – Integrated Fiber and Wireless Municipal Network

Fiber installation in Galax, Virginia street Design Nine announced on April 18, 2009 that The Wired Road has begun full operations.  An official ribbon-cutting will take place at the Rex Theater, 113 E. Grayson Street, in Galax, Virginia, and the adjacent City Hall, on April 20, 2009 at 11:00 AM. 

The regional network is the largest integrated fiber and wireless open access, open services municipal network in the United States, and the high performance network will eventually provide services across more than 1,000 square miles of mountainous terrain in southwest Virginia.

The project is a collaboration among three local Virginia governments, including Grayson County, Carroll County, and the City of Galax. Crossroads Institute and Carroll County Public Schools are also partners in the effort.  Design Nine provided the early planning, developed the financial and business models for the project, designed the network architecture, and provided comprehensive project management services to get the network built.

Planning for the project began in early 2007, and construction started later in the fall of that year.  The first customers began using the system in mid-2008, and wireless residential and businesses customers can now request service connections. 

As an open access network, the project is unique among municipal broadband projects because all services are provided by private sector companies = the local governments are not selling any services to businesses and residents.

Andrew  Cohill, President of Design Nine, noted several other significant accomplishments, which include installing fiber in downtown Galax and deploying high performance wireless broadband to residents and businesses in portions of Carroll and Grayson counties that were completely unserved by broadband.

Cohill said, “Residents that have been on dial up have been stopping work crews and asking when they can get wireless and fiber services.  Everyone is anxious to get connected.”  

The fiber in Galax will provide connectivity not only to businesses but to organizations like the Galax city government and the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts.  The Twin County Regional Hospital has been using The Wired Road fiber since January.  The hospital’s switch to The Wired Road fiber got the institution a big increase in bandwidth with a sharp reduction in cost, and a local service provider was able to get the hospital’s Internet business for the first time.

Design Nine managed the entire network build out, which included vendor evaluation and selection, supervision of all the construction work, testing of the network, and installation of network management and monitoring software.  Design Nine also developed a complete set of business, financial, and operations policies and procedures for the regional authority that was created to run the network.

Design Nine’s high performance design provides 100 megabit fiber connections and  and multi-megabit wireless speeds. The project recently received additional funding that will expand wireless access in rural areas and will get fiber into every business park in the region.


Design Nine provides visionary broadband network design and engineering services to clients, communities, and regions throughout the U.S.  The firm has active projects in eight states, with several fiber to the home (FTTH) projects in build out or operations, including the first municipal open network in the U.S. Design Nine manages broadband fiber and wireless projects from beginning to end, including the initial assessment, design, construction, and operations phases.  The company is one of the most experienced open access broadband network design firms in the United States, and offers a full range of assessment, planning, financial analysis, business design, and project management for public and private networks.

To learn more, you can read the Design Nine blog, Technology Futures, follow Design Nine on Twitter @DesignNine, and read about Design Nine's founder, Andrew Cohill, on Handshake 2.0 in Clicking Back Over the Years – Most Wired Town in America and Most Wired Town: Building Community One Click at a Time.

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  1. Thanks for news about our project. The Wired Road is one of three open access, open service municipal networks in Virginia. The other two are nDanville, in Danville, Virginia, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia Broadband Authority. nDanville has been in full operation for almost eighteen months.

  2. Amazing initiative with unimaginable creative and productive future results.

    Very proud and excited that you’ve brought this innovation to Southwest Virginia. Thank you.

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