The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday approved an agreement with AT&T that allows the company to begin rolling out ultra-high-speed Internet service in Raleigh and other North Carolina communities.
The deal also must be approved by elected officials in Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham and Winston-Salem all of which are cities where AT&T believes there is enough customer demand and local government support to warrant making the costly fiber installations that are necessary for such a network.
Gail Roper, Raleighs chief information officer, said the city will work to help AT&T through the permitting process for installing the network of fiberoptic cables. This is really a construction project in many ways, and well have to make sure we can get through our internal processes, she told the city council.
AT&Ts gigabit service, called GigaPower, provides customers download and upload speeds of up to 1 gigabit. The service is currently available in only one market: Austin, Texas.
City leaders had strong praise for the agreement. This a big step forward, Councilman Bonner Gaylord said. Its wonky, but exciting.
The agreement was first negotiated with members of the N.C. Next Generation Network. The network, which also includes UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, N.C. State University and Wake Forest University, has been negotiating separately with eight private companies to build a gigabit network, in part by using existing fiber-optic lines, underground conduits and data centers.
Staff writer Colin Campbell