Fiber OpticsUltra-high-speed network one-upmanship continues with an announcement today that Fibrant — the broadband network owned by the city of Salisbury, N.C. – will now offer 10 Gbps service to residential as well as business customers.

“We’re looking beyond what others are doing now,” said Kent Winrich, director of broadband and infrastructure for the City of Salisbury, in an interview. The city, he said, wanted to create “a fertile playground for developers” to test out new ideas in the city.

Fibrant 10 Gigabit
Robert Van Geons, executive director for Rowan WORKS, the economic development entity for Salisbury and the county in which it is located, cited information from USIgnite, which has identified more than a dozen applications requiring 10 Gbps connectivity. Such apps involve advanced medical, 4K and 8K video and full immersive virtual reality, he said.

A year ago only one or two apps needed such fast connections, Van Geons noted.

Fibrant already offers gigabit service – and having the ultra-high-speed connectivity citywide has helped the community economically, said Van Geons. He pointed to the example of Integro, a company that offers advanced quality high-speed scanning, which relocated to Salisbury because of the city’s high-speed broadband capability.

One customer already has signed on for 10 Gbps service. Catawba College plans to eventually use the capability campus-wide, beginning initially with an innovation lab that will be partitioned from the rest of the network as the college upgrades networking equipment to support 10 Gbps more broadly.

Gigabit Pricing Strategy
Fibrant’s 10 Gbps service will sell to residential customers for $400 monthly. The list price for business customers is $1700 a month and as Van Geons explained, includes “priority dedicated bandwidth.” Business customers may end up paying less than the list price if they also purchase other services from Fibrant, he noted.

Initially Fibrant is using point-to-point Ethernet technology to support 10 Gbps connectivity. But the company plans to use GPON equipment supporting 10 Gbps when it becomes available next year. The company’s broadband equipment supplier is Calix.

As gigabit service announcements become increasingly commonplace, we’re starting to see some service providers up the ante. Comcast has been announcing 2 Gbps deployments. Fibrant’s news takes that trend a step further.