Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2014

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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26 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | MARCH/APRIL 2014 COMMUNITY BROADBAND Q&A With Dan Holt, Wake Forest Fiber Optic Initiative A community in North Carolina is gearing up to get better broadband. Sometimes all it takes to get the ball rolling is one determined citizen. Broadband Communities: Tell us about Wake Forest. Where is it, and what sort of community is it? Dan Holt: Wake Forest is about 20 miles northeast of Raleigh-Durham. It's a growing community of about 35,000 people with a lot of young people, many in technical jobs. Most commute to the Research Triangle for work, but in the last fve years, technical employment has been growing here, too. For example, I work for a Department of Defense contractor that moved into Wake Forest three years ago. Te Wireless Research Center of North Carolina is also here – it's funded by the city of Wake Forest and the Golden Leaf Foundation, and it does testing for cellular companies and for the Navy. Tere are a lot of upstart technical companies as well. BBC: With such a tech- savvy population, you'd think the city would have good broadband options. DH: Te majority of the town does have access to broadband, either through DSL, cable or fxed wireless, though there are outlying areas that have little or no broadband access. In most of the town, the top speed available is 50 Mbps through Time Warner Cable. Last fall, CenturyLink started wiring new subdivisions with fber to the home, where they're pushing 100 Mbps. According to to Ookla's website, the average speed in town is 10 Mbps. BBC: Is that good enough, or are people asking for more? DH: No, we need higher speeds here. So many people commute for 45 minutes to an hour into the Research Triangle, and if they had higher upload speeds, they could do more telecommuting. If you're an engineer working on a computer-aided design, and you have to upload a CAD drawing to the ofce, it takes forever. Of course, we'd like access to higher download speeds, too, so we could be ahead of the curve when 4K streaming services come out. We'd defnitely love that. BBC: How's the broadband for local businesses? DH: A good 65 percent of the town is fber capable, and both TWC and CenturyLink ofer fber services to businesses, but it's very expensive. Where I work, we have fber to the building, but we're paying $1,300 per month for 10 Mbps. And 10 Mbps isn't enough for an ofce with about 100 employees, especially because we have to share fles with another 100 employees in Maryland and Virginia. We need access to 100 Mbps at the very least. So Dan Holt, founder of Wake Forest Fiber BBC_Mar14.indd 26 3/14/14 2:46 PM

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