SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Governor Pat McCrory, along with former Salisbury mayor and current Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz helped officials in Salisbury make a major announcement related to the broadband utility known as Fibrant.
The announcement, in the words of a representative from technology company Calix, was that Salisbury will become "America's first 10 gigabit city."
Fibrant is Salisbury's broadband utility that currently serves approximately 3000 customers.
The partnership also includes Catawba College, and the first 10 gig services will be available on campus.
Catawba College's Hoke Hall is the first location to receive 10 Gbps services with infrastructure improvements planned in other campus buildings including the Cannon Student Center and Ralph W. Ketner Hall. Additionally, Catawba is designing a strategic blueprint for turning computer labs into Digital Media Creation and Collaboration labs, as well as adding high-speed video conferencing in a number of facilities throughout the campus. In light of the recent partnership,
Catawba sees this as an opportunity for its students, faculty, and the community at large.
"It's an exciting day for us and really one in a long line of exciting days," Catawba President Brien Lewis said during the announcement. "These are opportunities to explore and deliver connections that simply weren't feasible before, we couldn't even entertain the notion of."
"Thanks to its partnership with Calix, Inc. (NYSE: CALX), the world leader in gigabit fiber deployments, Salisbury is now America's first 10 gigabit city (americas10gigcity.com), with 10 gigabit per second (Gbps) available to every premises in the city through the municipally-owned Fibrant," a Calix statement said.
While the 10 gig speed is available in other areas of the country, representatives from Fibrant and Calix say what makes Salisbury unique is that the service will be available citywide through a municipally owned utility.
"This is the first entire city in America that we're aware of, or in the world, that actually has every home, every business, every anchor institution passed that can turn up 10 gig infrastructure on a dime," said Geoff Burke, Senior Director of Corporate marketing for Calix.
After five years of building out its fiber network and launching gigabit services last year, Fibrant is now ready to offer the highest city-wide speeds available in any U.S. community by leveraging Calix systems.
The Fibrant network now supports up to 10 Gbps services throughout Salisbury via point-to-point Ethernet technology today, with a transition to next generation Passive Optical Network (PON) technology as it becomes available in 2016, according to the City of Salisbury.
Fibrant rolled out 1 Gbps services using the Calix E7-2 Ethernet Services Access Platform (ESAP) last year, but with consumer bandwidth consumption doubling every two years, Salisbury businesses and residents will require increasingly higher broadband speeds in order to have the highest quality broadband experience.
Fibrant plans to complement the initial point-to-point 10 Gbps technology with next generation PON technologies (XGS-PON and NG-PON2) integrated into Calix E-Series solutions to deliver a multi-gigabit subscriber experience to residents and businesses alike. With a variety of 10 Gbps-capable technologies at its disposal, Fibrant will be in a position to enable cloud-based services that can keep up with projected subscriber bandwidth growth over the next decade, according to officials.
"Salisbury has been at the forefront of broadband services and speeds for years now, but today, we are taking the next step to set ourselves apart from other cities with our citywide 10 Gbps service," said Kent Winrich, director of broadband infrastructure for Fibrant. "As America's first 10 gig city, our community has an edge in economic development. Fibrant is helping our existing businesses grow and attracting new companies to Salisbury."
During the press conference Winrich used one very simple example that seemed to resonate with the crowd.
"This means your Netflix will not buffer while your whole family is on the internet," Winrich joked.