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Downtown Blacksburg’s GoGig service joins eduroam wireless network

December 21, 2016

Students connect to wireless internet in downtown Blacksburg.

student on bench along Main Street in Blacksburg, working on a laptop
Computer Science major Cody Douglass connects to free wireless in Downtown Blacksburg.

A collaboration between Virginia Tech's Division of Information Technology and GoGig has resulted in the merging of the Wi-Fi network in downtown Blacksburg with the international eduroam network.

Since eduroam is the default network for Virginia Tech, this collaboration allows seamless connectivity between campus and downtown.

GoGig, a private company led by Bob Summers, brought free Wi-Fi access to business areas in downtown Blacksburg at the end of 2013. GoGig is planning the launch of residential wireless internet services in several neighborhoods within a mile of the downtown area. 

This deployment of eduroam is the first (and only) noninstitutional deployment of eduroam in a public space in the United States. Eduroam is an international wireless network based primarily at universities that allows faculty, staff, and students to use their home institution's wireless credentials to access wireless networks when visiting other participating locations. Eduroam also eliminates the need for a guest account or separate log-in credentials when moving between eduroam wireless hotspots.

With Virginia Tech’s support, Blacksburg has become known as a pioneer in providing internet access for consumers, beginning with the formation of the Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV). Back in the 90s, BEV enabled what is considered the very first e-commerce transaction in the world. The connection of GoGig to the eduroam service also breaks new ground in enabling ease and convenience of internet access and is another first for the Town of Blacksburg.

“GoGig’s offering of eduroam in downtown Blacksburg demonstrates the value of collaboration and integration of Virginia Tech and the community,” said Scott Midkiff, Virginia Tech’s chief information officer. “GoGig’s eduroam service makes it easier for students, faculty, and staff to move between campus and downtown. And, Virginia Tech’s guest wireless network offers a similar benefit for non-university residents to access Wi-Fi on campus.”

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