Open Broadband, Segra Extend Broadband to North Carolina’s Underserved Areas

Service providers use mix of fiber and broadband wireless to bring broadband services to parts of North Carolina where service availability was lacking.

  • Segra

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Open Broadband, which provides hybrid fiber and fixed-wireless ISP solutions to bring broadband internet to businesses, residences, and community areas, has partnered with Segra to enhance its reach to underserved areas of North Carolina. 

Circuits are private data connections that securely connect multiple locations with dedicated leased line data connectivity. With 30,000 route miles of fiber from Pennsylvania to Georgia, Segra has been a key factor in providing those services to Open Broadband.

“We began working with Open Broadband shortly after their inception in late 2017, providing fiber, internet, and data center infrastructure to them,” says Ted Marshall, senior national account executive, at Segra. “We serve them across the Carolinas, and currently have over 15 circuits in the Charlotte area alone and continue to foster new partnerships and projects with them here and in other areas.”

Open Broadband orders circuits from Segra to varying towers and buildings in underserved areas. From those sites, Open Broadband uses fixed-wireless antennas to deliver internet service to customers.

“We could not do this without Segra,” says Alan Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of Open Broadband. “They are such a critical partner to us because if we didn’t have that fiber access or internet connection, we couldn’t do what we are doing in connecting the underserved.”

With Segra’s help, Open Broadband provides internet services to rural areas where connections are scarce, public areas in cities and parks, and urban areas where lower income residents need to have affordable internet options available.

Internet Coverage in Underserved Areas:

  • The Carolinas: Open Broadband went into rural areas in North Carolina where residents had limited internet access with DSL services at about 3 Mbps. By leveraging the fiber and internet that Segra provided to the towers and using Open Broadband’s fixed wireless antennas, they were able to get people serviced 20 times faster than their current service and provide it at the same price they were paying. Due to cost savings and heightened effectiveness, this process was replicated in different areas of North Carolina and expanded to South Carolina. Open Broadband now serves 15 counties in North Carolina and five counties in South Carolina, focusing on areas of need.
  • Olive Airport: Before working with Open Broadband, Mt. Olive Airport and Vidant Emergency Medical Unit were running on slow, unreliable DSL connections, which they shared. To help mitigate those issues, Open Broadband leased a fiber circuit from Segra to a water tower in Mt. Olive and secured a wireless connection to the airport. Both businesses are now receiving faster service at 100 Mbps. Open Broadband has been working with them since 2018 and continues to provide services that allows them to operate the medical unit and airport services effectively.

  • Olive University: Originally, Mt. Olive University planned to build an agricultural campus using DSL. Instead, Open Broadband was able to provide fixed-wireless services to them for the new campus by extending a 300 Mbps wireless connection back to Segra’s fiber and provide much faster internet for students.

  • Outdoor Public Wi-Fi Access and Other Municipal Partnerships: Open Broadband has partnered with cities and helped out parks, neighborhoods and organizations such as Mecktech Connect and Access Charlotte. Open Broadband currently has 15-20 circuits and free public Wi-Fi through the state of North Carolina.

Aside from businesses, Open Broadband also provides internet coverage for residents in the Charlotte area and is a registered provider of FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which helps low-income families stay connected to the internet.

There are also future and prospective opportunities in the works, according to Fitzpatrick. “Open Broadband is ranked in the Fastest 50 growing private companies in the Charlotte Region. We are not slowing down, and our services are getting increasingly popular. Any time we get that pull for more demand, we reach out to Segra,” he says.

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