The high-speed Internet service offered through the system could be used to attract high-tech companies to the county, Peters said. And even more traditional companies need high-speed Internet to communicate with suppliers or home offices, Peters said.
The proposal is being made by iTown Communications, a Vienna, Va., company that designs, builds and operates broadband networks for cities and towns across the country with populations of 5,000 to 125,000.
The proposal calls for iTown, along with state and local governments, to build the network, iTown spokesman Keith Montgomery told about seven local government officials at a meeting organized by the development authority.
Those attending included Jefferson County Commissioners Jane Tabb, James G. Knode, Greg Corliss and commissioner-elect Jim Surkamp.
Once the debt is paid off for the system, it could be a revenue source for local government because other information service companies could pay government to be able to offer their service through the network, Peters said.
The network generates competition in the information service industry, which helps keep prices down for such services, said Jamie Gaucher of the West Virginia Development Office.
Gaucher called the network "revolutionary."
The project would involve running a cable to homes and businesses. Peters could not give a cost estimate for the project.
Before anything is built, the county government and local towns likely would conduct a feasibility study to determine more accurately the benefits of the network, Peters said.