In a opinion piece in the Salisbury Post, resident Rex Boner encourages his fellow local citizens to “make 2017 the year of Fibrant.” As a relatively new transplant to Salisbury, Rex describes how he and his wife came to the city from Atlanta to be closer to his family and was pleasantly surprised by the community’s municipal Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network.
"It Seems Like A No-Brainer"
He’s amazed that more people are not subscribers because he and his wife find the service reliable, fast, and more affordable than the Internet access they had in Atlanta. Rex writes:
Fibrant is something that we should be very proud of, and I believe that it will prove to be a helpful component of our city’s economic development efforts.
Why we would collectively choose out-of-town internet and television providers who do not invest in our community and who provide more expensive and inferior service is beyond me. Throw in the fact that low Fibrant subscription rates ultimately leads to higher city costs since we own this system no matter what, and the decision to utilize it and benefit from it seems like a “no-brainer."
Ups And Downs In Salisbury
Fibrant began offering services to homes and businesses in Salisbury in 2010 and in 2015 upgraded to offering 10 Gigabit per second (Gbps) symmetrical services. The network had already been offering 1 Gbps symmetrical service for around $100 per month. Throughout the years, the community and Fibrant have had to contend with a number of difficulties. The Great Recession and stiff competitive pricing from incumbents Time Warner Cable and Comcast took their toll on the ability to quickly attract subscribers and the community’s bond rating took a hit, but has since been elevated.
In 2011, Time Warner Cable also managed to lobby through a bill at the state level that restricts municipal networks’ ability to expand. After a 2015 preemption effort by the FCC and then a reversal by the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Sixth Circuit, that law is still in effect. Nevertheless, local leaders are expanding Fibrant whenever and wherever they can within the confines of the law; its high capacity connectivity is especially in demand among local businesses.
Getting Behind The Local Provider
According to Rex, who describes the past history of Fibrant’s troubles as “the baggage of history,” he’s a subscriber and a community member with a fresh perspective. So far, his experience with the publicly owned network has been “superior to other providers at similar or lower prices.” Rex is so impressed by his adopted town’s network, he decided to petition other Post readers to support their investment:
Let’s stop sending our checks to behemoth, multi-national companies that will never invest a penny in Salisbury beyond what it takes to get our money. It really is surprising to me that I even feel the need to write such a letter as this. I hope that others agree that the path forward is clear.