A new North Carolina FTTP network offers a unique take on delivering high-speed services. The Real Fiber Network was built from scratch by RST Global Communications using fiber that is buried 10 feet deep – a decision the company says should be a strong differentiator.
“It provides additional reliability in weather related issues, tornadoes and hurricanes,” said RST CEO Dan Limerick in an interview.
In addition he noted that ten feet is deeper than other utilities build their lines. “We will be the last thing cut if [someone is] digging with an excavator,” he said. “The last thing they will hit is this.”
RST has now completed the first phase of the Real Fiber Network in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Next the company plans to expand along the I-85 corridor in North and South Carolina.
RST already has attracted some important customers — including Infocrossing, a division of Wipro, and a “world leader in data center development” as well as some local universities. Some major Internet-related firms – including AT&T, Apple, Google, Walt Disney and Facebook — are locating in the region, attracted by low electricity prices. And Limerick believes the RST network should have strong appeal to those companies.
Limerick notes that few, if any, fiber networks today use 100% buried fiber. Most rely at least in part on aerial fiber, which can be more prone to service disruptions, he said.
RST business customers will receive data connectivity at speeds up to 10 Gbps using active Ethernet. In addition, the company will be offering triple-play residential services with broadband speeds up to 1 Gbps symmetrically using GPON, noted Randy Revels, RST chief technology officer.
The company will be competing with the likes of AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner. But Limerick said RST will have an edge because it will offer more bandwidth than equivalently priced competitive offerings. Moving forward, the company could upgrade to higher speeds, Revels said.
Limerick and Revels founded RST with private funding in 2009 because they wanted to benefit Cleveland county, the former textile manufacturing community in which they were raised.
“Since the textile industry has gone overseas, there is a tremendous lack of job opportunities in the area,” said Limerick.
Limerick argued passionately about the economic benefits of fiber in local communities. He noted, for example, that the high-speed network will support medical and education applications – potentially even eliminating snow days by enabling students to do their school work at home over a broadband connection.
Updated Sept. 26