Silicon Coast: Gilich talks Internet upgrades, collaborating with Gulfport
BILOXI -- Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich talked in numbers Tuesday at Breakfast with the Mayor, counting the almost 170 days he's been in office and looking forward to Nov. 17, when he said the governor will talk about how he will roll out the Gulf Coast Fiber Optic Ring.
Gilich has talked about his vision for the high-speed Internet network since he campaigned for mayor and said it's important for Biloxi and South Mississippi.
"When industry comes the first thing they want to know is 'where's the fiber?'" he said.
He's already preparing for running the lines in East Biloxi while the roads are torn up for the infrastructure project.
"We've changed the South Contract to include conduit that will run this fiber," he said. The South Contract is for work south of the railroad tracks in East Biloxi.
"Dig once," is his philosophy, he said, and told the crowd South Mississippi can become "Silicon Coast."
Biloxi and Gulfport are working together on the Fiber Optic Ring and Gilich said it will be open to all the cities in South Mississippi.
In the almost 170 days he's been in office, Gilich said, "The intensity is what I expected but the volume is much more than I imagined."
Gilich said, "They" didn't think Biloxi and Gulfport could work together, but together the cities "swing a big stick."
Besides collaborating on the high speed Internet, he said the two cities are already lobbying for the Coast to see benefits of the $150 million BP settlement the Legislature will decide how to spend early next year.
"We'll be together," he said of the cities, "It's too critical." The Chamber of Commerce breakfast was hosted by Merit Health Biloxi and CEO Monte Bostwick said the hospital is now part of the largest health care entity in Mississippi.
A $1.3 million investment over the past year brought a new lobby and improvements to the emergency room.
"The entire purpose for this renovation was to improve patient efficiency in our hospital," Bostwick said.
The hospital also recently recruited 10 physicians and added 33 to the medical staff, he said.