Lawmakers eye blocks on fiber optic systems

By Emily Ford

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Image by ·júbilo·haku· via Flickr

Local officials say they have convinced state legislators to exempt Salisbury from a bill that would limit the ability of municipalities to operate broadband networks.

Salisbury recently launched Fibrant, a fiber to the home network that competes with private telecommunication companies to provide Internet, phone and cable TV service.

This marks the fourth year that legislation threatens municipal broadband systems like Fibrant.

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Business strategist: Fibrant needs promoting

Craig Settles at Salisbury City Hall. Photo by Jon C. Lakey, Salisbury Post.

By Emily Ford

Creating a municipal fiber optic network was smart, but now the city must market Fibrant and educate users to realize the system’s full potential, a community broadband expert says.

“You have truly 21st century technology,” said Craig Settles, a broadband business strategist from San Francisco who spoke Friday at City Council’s planning retreat. “Do not hide this digital light under a basket. Talk about it and promote it. It will make a difference.”

Fibrant is the city’s fledgling $30 million fiber-to-the-home utility, which was in development for five years. Fibrant has been operating since November and expects to sign up its 500th subscriber this month. The city aims to have 4,400 subscribers in four years.

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Salisbury, NC to launch municipal FTTH service next month

After AT&T (NYSE: T) and Time Warner Cable(NYSE: TWC-WI)–two of North Carolina’s largest service providers–failed to get necessary state legislative support to stop municipal broadband from getting off the ground, Salisbury, N.C. will now begin offering residential Fiber to the Home services beginning this November.

One of the attractive elements about the Salisbury’s “Fibrant” service set is the price. According to the intial pricing list, subscribers could buy a symmetrical 15 Mbps data tier for $45 a month, while a symmetrical 25 Mbps tier will cost $65 a month.

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