SALISBURY, N.C. -- Fibrant, the fiber-optic network built by the City of Salisbury, just signed up its 3,000th customer.
The network provides phone, internet and television services for people and businesses within city limits. The city spentupwards of $33 million to put more than 250 miles worth of fiberoptic cable in the ground to make high speed internet available in all parts of the city. Fibrant went online to customers in November 2010, and had upwards of 1,200 customers by August 2011.
Salisbury and Wilson are the only cities in North Carolina that built their own fiber networks. A state law passed in 2011 at the behest of Time Warner Cable keeps other cities from following in their footsteps.
Financially, Fibrant is expected to break even this year. Last year, Fibrant lost $4.1 million. As a startup, it s normal for the first couple of years to not break even and to not make a profit, city manager Doug Paris said in March. The first two quarters of this year we ve turned a profit.
Fiber-optic broadband networks send information using pulses of light, while traditional networks use electric signals sent over copper wire. Fiber networks like Fibrant are much faster as a result, with speeds that are hard to match and capacity that s hard to bog down.Fibrant s fastest internet speed is one gigabit (1,000 megabits) per second, while its slowest speed is 20 megabits a second. Google Fiber has said it's interested in building a network to offer those speeds in the Charlotte and Raleigh areas.