A Tale of Two Community Broadband Strategies in NC - Part 2

Author: Cara Snider
Coverage Type: reporting
Salisbury, NC, United States

Fibranet is a city-owned fiber network that went live one year ago in Salisbury, NC. To date, Salisbury's former City Manager David Treme says that Fibranet has more than 1,700 customers, with 13% market share—all after billing its first customer back in December of 2010. But with those numbers, the network is behind its projected revenue and subscriber forecasts. Initially, the project stalled with technical deployment issues: private companies were slow to move their lines to free up space on the utility poles, the customer service center had to be redesigned because of its designation as an “essential” structure by Rowan County (something that cost the city an extra $1m), and so on... all struggles that are all too often a part of any fiber deployment. All told, the city of more than 33k people will spend $70m on Fibranet. This year, the debt payment increases to approximately $3m annually (up from $1.7m the first year), and this level of repayment will continue from 2013-2029.



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