Throughout the past year, Fuquay-Varina has been working to ensure that the wave of high-speed fiber internet moving into other parts of Wake County soon will be able to take hold in Fuquay-Varina.
The first phase of the town’s fiber “backbone” went online last year, and a second phase is expected to be up and running by the summer.
Fuquay-Varina’s neighbor to the north, Holly Springs, has been able to leverage its municipal fiber network into a partnership with internet provider Ting, which is now providing high-speed internet service to certain neighborhoods in Holly Springs. Fuquay-Varina is hoping that once its full network is live, Ting or other third-party internet providers such as AT&T and Google will take notice and begin extending branches off the backbone into Fuquay-Varina residential districts.
The immediate purpose of Fuquay-Varina’s network, though, is to service municipal government buildings, where Town Manager Adam Mitchell said employees need gigabit speeds to efficiently send massive mapping files and other large datasets back and forth. Fiber-optic lines offer speeds at least 10 times faster than what’s available along standard copper internet cables.
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“We also like the idea of having a reliable backbone and network to service our facilities and our needs,” Mitchell said. “Having infrastructure that we can maintain, that we can service, that we have security in, for us, has great value.”
The first phase, which went live in 2016, runs from Town Hall on Old Honeycutt Road down Purfoy Road to the town’s Public Service Center. The second phase will service the police and fire stations and the town’s downtown districts. A third phase will extend the service north up N.C. 55 toward Holly Springs and up U.S. 401 toward Garner.
“There are communities around Wake County that are going to be connected, and we don’t want to be the community that doesn’t have that for our residents, for our commercial businesses,” Mitchell said Monday.
All three phases will cost the town between $1 million and $1.25 million to construct.
The town board approved a $30,000 contract Monday to JDavis, an architecture firm the town is paying to create conceptual renderings and schematics for the downtown city block where the town is considering the purchase and redevelopment of several properties near the town’s North Main Street police station.
Broadly, the town is hoping to revitalize the block as a mixed-use district, although the exact mix of uses is something JDavis’ work could help the town decide. Possible uses include downtown condominiums or apartments, more town office space, and commercial and retail space. Mixed-use districts often incorporate designs where buildings contain two or more types of tenants on different floors.
The report is expected to come back to the board for review sometime this summer.
“We’ll have design concepts and renderings that the town board has endorsed,” Mitchell said. “What we’re trying to do is tee up a project to make it very easy for a developer to feel good about investing in our downtown.”
In Mayor John Byrne’s annual address Monday, he described a positive picture of Fuquay-Varina as the town continues to grow. He highlighted the expansion of recreation and cultural arts opportunities and credited the town government for its hard work and the $12.3 million in road funding it secured in 2016 for various projects that will be constructed between fall of 2017 and 2020.
“But it will get worse before it gets better,” Byrne said. “When the roads start getting torn up, it’ll get worse. I want to say that now before people start piling in here.”
The address featured, for the first time, a light-hearted motion-graphics video summarizing the past year in town government.
Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan