Charlotte could gain from fiber optic network already in place in Salisbury

SALISBURY — AT&T and Google are eyeing Charlotte to possibly launch high-speed fiber optic networks.

It's technology that's been available to homes and businesses in Salisbury since 2010.

Things move quickly during lunchtime at the Sidewalk Deli. That is a big part of the reason Owner Rick Anderson-McCombs said he hopped at the chance to increase speed behind the scenes.

After more than 15 years with the same provider, the restaurant switched to Fibrant, a state-of-the-art fiber optic network, operated and managed by the city of Salisbury.

Anderson-McCombs said, "The main reason I got Fibrant was not so much to help my business, but help my town because I think it's very progressive of Salisbury to include Wi-Fi and Internet service in our utilities."

The fiber optic broadband was launched in November 2010 and provides cable, TV and Internet that moves at the speed of light.

Anderson-McCombs said, "A lot faster Internet speeds, a lot clearer phone calls."  His mother, Anganetta Dover said, "I think we save about $30 to $40 a month with Fibrant and the advantages of having the speed is so much better."

Dover also uses Fibrant at home.  Her family was among the first to sign up nearly four years ago.

"Even (the) lowest speed and slowest speed is super compared to what we used to have to do," she said.

Robert Van Geons, executive director of Rowan Works, said Fibrant has helped the city enhance and attract business that's benefitted the entire county.

He thinks Charlotte would also stand to gain if Google or AT&T brings fiber optic networks to the Queen City.

"Beyond the technical benefits, it is a great promotional tool.  It does set your community apart.  It does make people look at you a little differently and it does show that you're prepared to do business for the next 10, 15, 20 years and compete in the global marketplace," said Van Geons.

Channel 9 checked prices online.  Time Warner Cable offers a basic TV, Internet and phone package that starts at $79 and comes with download speeds of up to six megabytes per second.

AT&T also offers downloads of up to six megabtyes per second with its basic $79 bundle deal.

A basic Fibrant bundle package starts at $97 and includes 20 megabytes per second for downloads and uploads, which is three times faster.

Click here to learn more about Fibrant.