Holly Springs, N.C., Taps Ting to Provide Gigabit Service

  • Ting Internet
HOLLY SPRINGS, NC — Ting Internet announced Tuesday night that it is bringing service at gigabit download and upload speeds to homes and businesses in Holly Springs. Ting, a division of Tucows, will immediately begin assessing demand throughout town. Depending on demand, construction could begin as soon as the first half of next year. Ting said it will have an office in Holly Springs with a manager and installers.

Extending Unused Town-owned Fiber to Last Mile

In January, Google announced with much fanfare that it would bring ultra fast Internet to seven Triangle cities that include Raleigh and Cary, and by extension, Garner and Morrisville. Meanwhile, Holly Springs officials have quietly explored how the town's own fiber network, which was built to serve town facilities, might attract new business and industry to town, such as Internet providers who would use it as a springboard. Ting will be granted a license to access unused town-owned fiber and build outward the last mile to homes and businesses. “This is Holly Springs’ alternative to Google Fiber for Internet service,” said Jeff Wilson, the town’s information technology director. In addition to the town’s fiber network, Ting officials cited Holly Springs’ “tech-savvy” citizenry and the town’s willingness to ease some red tape as reasons for choosing Holly Springs.

Ting began in early 2012 as a provider of mobile phone service. In the past year, it has expanded into fixed Internet service, beginning in Charlottesville, Va., and Westminster, Md. Holly Springs is poised to become the third location for Ting Internet. “We plan to bring world-class Internet to more cities and towns all over the U.S.,” said Tucows CEO Elliot Noss.

A Local Solution to Slow, Unreliable Internet Service
Although slow, expensive and unreliable Internet is a national problem, Noss said, agreements like the one with Holly Springs show that the solution is local. “While Google Fiber and other providers race to get started in big cities,” he said, “we’re finding that there’s also a lot of interest from, and opportunity in, smaller cities and towns that might otherwise get passed over.”

Town officials are excited that their residents and business owners will have access to Internet speeds far above what is now available. “World-class Internet access will help us continue our forward progress and inspire the next generation of great ideas,” Mayor Dick Sears said.

Ting joins the town’s current providers of broadband Internet service – Century Link, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Clarity. However, only a small percentage of Holly Springs homes have access to fiber. “The town has received numerous requests from homeowner associations, residents and businesses asking what we have been doing to attract additional providers in Holly Springs,” Wilson said.

Leveraging Unused Fiber and Conduit to Attract Businesses
Town officials began discussions with Ting in late spring after the town’s fiber network consultant, CTC Technology & Energy, made introductions. Details of the fiber license agreement are still being worked out. However, nothing in the agreement would preclude another Internet provider from also licensing town fiber, Wilson said. This unused capacity in fiber and conduit has served a dual purpose to attract business and industry to town. Construction of the initial 13-mile network was completed in mid-2014 at a cost of $1.5 million. It is now approximately 17 miles.

The town built its own network for approximately what it was paying for data service. Beyond that, Wilson said, it was clear that keeping pace with town facility needs would be prohibitively expensive unless the town built its own network.

Increasing Service to Citizens

With its own network, the town is finding new opportunities to increase service to citizens. Wilson expects the same to be true for residents and business owners, with the availability of higher speeds driving the development of new applications for it.

Michael Goldstein of Ting said the company focuses on hiring the right people, training them extensively, and giving customer service staff access to the information they need to help customers. “The result just ends up being a totally different kind of customer experience with us …” he said. “We just do backflips to make customers happy and we are usually successful.”


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