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Blacksburg Electronic Village


Historical Note

The concept of an online community network for Blacksburg, Virginia originated in 1991. An outreach project of Virginia Tech, the Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV) would seek to bring Internet access to the entire community. Collaborative efforts during the next two years among Virginia Tech, the town of Blacksburg, and Bell Atlantic of Virginia prepared the town's information infrastructure by installing digital switching equipment and a fiber backbone. The first beta test of BEV software--including Internet, e-mail and gopher clients--occurred in Spring 1993, and BEV was formally launched in October 1993.

Linking individuals, government agencies, commercial enterprises, and community organizations through fiber-optic technology, BEV was among the earliest online community networks and received international attention. By 1997, more than 80 percent of the community's residents had computers--many of them connected to the Internet through Virginia Tech's modem pool--and Blacksburg was dubbed by the press "the most wired town in America."

By 1996, the Virginia Tech modem pool was becoming overloaded, and users not affiliated with Virginia Tech were required to switch to independent Internet providers. Today, BEV continues to work with local individuals, the town of Blacksburg, and non-profit organizations, providing website development and support, e-mail accounts, and civic websites, among other services.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Blacksburg Electronic Village Collection

Identifier: Ms-2006-018

The collection includes papers, including correspondence, in-house publications, presentations, press clippings, and external reports, relating to Blacksburg Electronic Village, an experimental online community network connecting the town of Blacksburg, Virginia.

Dates: 1992 - 2006