Conway, Arkansas, has been offering Internet access for approximately 20 years; in December, it will begin offering Gigabit (1,000 Megabits per second) download connectivity to the community. Conway's highest tier Internet access will cost $94.95 per month. According to Conway Corp.'s announcement, the utility will use a 32-channel cable modem to deliver the faster download speeds via the current infrastructure. Upload speeds will be 50 Mbps.
In a statement, reproduced in Multichannel News, CEO Richard Arnold said:
“Internet usage has grown and will continue to as cloud-based products and services become more prevalent. Gigabit download speeds seem a luxury today, but may be tomorrow’s necessity.”
Between 1995 and 1997, the utility completed a citywide cable rebuild in which they used both fiber and coaxial cable. The $5.6 million project allowed them to offer Internet access to Conway subscribers. As an early adopter of municipal Internet access, Conway’s move toward Gig connectivity makes sense:
“For several years, we have been on a strategic path toward gigabit service,” said chief technology officer Jason Hansen in a statement. “With this initiative, Conway Corp is embracing its position as an Internet technology leader.”
- Basic : 6 Mbps download / 1 Mbps upload - $36.95 per month
- Broadband 25 : 25 Mbps / 3 Mbps - $41.95 per month
- Broadband 50 : 50 Mbps / 5 Mbps - $51.95 per month
- Broadband 100 : 100 Mbps / 10 Mbps - $84.95 per month
Conway is county seat to Faulkner County, located in the center of the state and through its utility system, Conway Corp., provides electric, water, wastewater, Internet access, cable TV, and telephone services to the community of 65,000. Conway is considered a suburb of Little Rock, but many of the residents don't commute out of the city for work as there are a number of large employers in Conway.
The city is home to Hewlett Packard, marketing technologies firm Acxiom, and technology company Insight Enterprises. Conway is also home to a public research institution, the University of Central Arkansas, and three other colleges, giving it the nickname "City of Colleges." The community is one of the most educated adult workforce in the state, with approximately 40 percent holding a bachelor's degree.
What Is A Gigabit?
Conway's CEO is correct when he describes Gigabit download speeds as a necessity, but we believe that upload speeds are just as critical. When Gigabit access is only available on the download, subscribers are limited to the role of consumer. At MuniNetworks.org, we classify a network as "Gigabit" if subscribers receive at least 500 Mbps upload speeds. We hope to see Conway Corp find a way to also increase upload speeds so we can put them on our map as a Gigabit community.