Another place where community broadband is working

The Economist did a great story recently about  our friends in Bristol, Virginia. Bristol, like Wilson, ran its first fiber a few years ago to connect City facilities, then made it available to everyone after people in town asked for it.

In fact, when Wilson was building its fiber ring several years ago, several local businesses asked the guys stringing up the fiber if they could connect, too.

Here’s a segment of the article: “The Federal Communications Commission will have to take up this matter when it sends its broadband plan to Congress in March. Since 1995, at the urging of telecoms companies, 18 states have erected barriers to entry for municipal utilities.”

The private cable monopolies in NC continue their efforts to prevent cities and towns from making their own decisions regarding next-generation communication. The NC Legislature returns to Raleigh for the short session in a couple of months.

Wilson’s fiber network opens up public sector possibilities

Wilson’s fiber-to-the-home network was built primarily for local businesses and industries. Some of the community’s largest employers subscribe to Greenlight because of its next-generation broadband speed. The network is also helping local educators. Wilson Community College was one of our first members, and just this week, the Wilson County School Board announced that it would subscribe to Greenlight for all of its campuses, including central office areas.

All of that goes right with the business model we had anticipated years ago, but today we’re seeing even more benefits that we expected. Our Police Department, for instance, has been asked by some local businesses to put up video cameras over parking lots. We’re in the process now of placing cameras in several of those areas. The businesses are miles apart, so trying to place cameras without the network would be more difficult and much more expensive.

With new high-data applications and software being created so quickly these days, I’d bet there are a lot of benefits to a fiber network that we don’t even know yet. In Wilson’s case, the fiber network runs down every street and it’s owned by the community.

Google shows that Americans want better speed.

Some exciting news is out about broadband speeds. Google is looking for a few markets around the US to build fiber networks. These networks would provide Internet access at up to one Gig per second.

The networks would be experimental and they’re probably many, many times faster than what you have now. If your only choice is the cable or phone company, your speeds are probably topping out at about 6 Mbps. During the recent snows when the kids were out of school, I bet the speed dropped even more due to high demand.

Google’s announcement verifies one of the key reasons the City of Wilson built its all fiber optic network two years ago. In spite of the cable company’s insistence that their “blazing fast” speeds are enough, people want more. Today’s Web demands it. Tomorrow’s Web will need even more bandwidth.

Greenlight, Wilson’s all fiber network is available to every address in town, and it’s owned by the people of Wilson. Today, we offer residential speeds up to 100Mpbs. Our businesses can get up to one Gig, the same speed that Google is researching.

Yet, the cable company wants the State government to prevent cities like Wilson from offering these speeds. The back and forth in the NC Legislature goes on.

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