Durham homes and business first in Triangle to get 1 gigabit Internet speeds

Several thousand Durham homes and businesses became the first in the Triangle to connect to ultra-fast 1 gigabit Internet speeds Thursday with the introduction of the $219.99-a-month service by Frontier Communications.

As of Thursday no customers signed up for the top speed, said Dennis Bloss, Frontier’s vice-president and general manager for North Carolina operatioons. Two customers – one residential, one business – opted for the 1/2 gigabit options, Bloss said.

Frontier’s FiberOffice and FiberHome are about 25 times faster than the carrier’s previous top speed of 40 megabits per second.

The company’s 1 gig service is currently limited to American Tobacco Campus, Carolina Arbors, Durham City Center, Research Triangle Park’s Park Center Development, One Park Center and Jordan at Southport, Frontier said in its announcement.

Bloss said the 1 gig service will be expanded over time to additional business parks and neighborhoods.

Frontier provides Internet and related services to about 350,000 households in the state, including about 134,000 customers in Durham.

Internet speeds of 1 gig accelerate the downloading of a high-definition movie from minute to seconds, Bloss said.

The town of Wilson was the first in North Carolina to offer 1 gigabit, when its $33 million Greenlight system went live in 2009 with high-speed Internet, TV programming and Internet-based phone service. In 2010, Salisbury launched its Fibrant system, which also offers speeds up to 1 gigabit.

AT&T has said it plans to expand its own fiber network service, known as U-Verse with GigaPower, to residents and businesses in the Triangle.

Google has also identified the Triangle as one of nine metropolitan areas where it is considering expanding its high-speed Internet and TV service, Google Fiber. Google expects to decide by the end of the year which markets it will enter.