Southwest Wake News

Holly Springs fiber expansion will depend on demand

Officials have been working for years to provide the town with ultra high-speed Internet, but now it is up to residents to ensure these faster Internet speeds reach their homes and businesses.

Ting Internet is now assessing demand in Holly Springs in order to bring its gigabit download and upload speeds to the town.

Holly Springs is already home to broadband Internet service provided by Century Link, AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Clarity, but only a small percentage of Holly Springs homes have access to fiber.

Ting will build by demand. Residents or business owners who want to receive services must visit to share their interest.

“Wherever the interest is shown on their maps is the area that they’ll target first,” said Jeff Wilson, town information technology director. “(So far) there’s been a lot of interest, and Ting has been very pleased with the demand generation.”

Construction could begin as soon as early 2016, and Wilson said the company expects the “first customers to come online around early summer.”

Ting will keep interested parties informed as the project progresses and will give them a chance to pre-order when that option becomes available.

Ting, which began providing mobile phone service in early 2012, expanded into fixed Internet service over the past year, providing gigabit speed Internet.

Holly Springs is Ting Internet’s third location. The company already offers services in Charlottesville, Va., and Westminster, Md.

The company is a division of Tucows Inc., a Toronto-based Internet services and telecommunications company.

After Google Fiber announced earlier this year that it would bring ultra high-speed Internet to seven Triangle municipalities, including Raleigh, Cary and Morrisville, other local municipalities began looking for alternatives.

But Holly Springs already had been exploring how its own fiber network, which was built to serve town facilities, might attract Internet providers to connect the network to homes and businesses.

“The businesses really crave it, the bandwidth that they will need for what they do,” Mayor Pro Tem Tim Sack said. “It will be a big business attractor.”

Construction of the initial 13-mile network was completed by the town in mid-2014 for $1.5 million. It is now about 17 miles.

“The town has got the fiber optic (network) in the ground that any company can come in and lease strands from us,” Sack said.

Ting will be granted a license to access unused town-owned fiber and build the “last mile” to homes and businesses. But details of the fiber license agreement are still being worked out.

However, a lease agreement between the Town of Holly Springs and Ting Internet would not prevent other Internet providers from leasing town fiber.

“(Residents) need to be aware that they need to show interest,” Sack said. “It’s going to be up to that interest spurring Ting on to put it in the neighborhoods.”

Kathryn Trogdon; 919-460-2608; @KTrogdon

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