When the President of the United States spoke recently about the need for greater broadband speeds in our country, he showed a chart listing cities where gigabit Internet access is available: Hong Kong, Paris, Chattanooga and Kansas City were among them.
In fact, thanks to the fiber network FTC is building in DeKalb and Jackson counties, most of the cities and towns in the area can list gigabit Internet access among the benefits they can offer prospective businesses and families looking to relocate. With its launch of gigabit Internet service in February, FTC put northeast Alabama on the map as one of the areas with the most advanced broadband networks available. Those connected to FTC’s fiber system can enjoy speeds up to 100 times faster than the 10 megabits per second (Mbps) once considered typical, and 40 times faster than the new definition of broadband — 25 Mbps
— adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in January.
THE GIG: WHY?
In order to join the short list of U.S. providers offering gigabit speeds, FTC first had to build “a world-class fiber network,”
Only a small percentage of consumers today actually need the network.
For the foreseeable future, Johnson has certain expectations. The presence of the gig, he says, will mean students will access capacity of a gigabit connection. But as with any type of critical infrastructure, FTC’s network has been built with the future in mind.
“People continue to find new ways to use their broadband connection, and they are demanding more and more bandwidth,” says Brandi Lyles, FTC’s manager of marketing and public relations. “We have customers connecting computers, TVs, video-streaming devices, smartphones, tab- lets, gaming systems, security systems and more.” That trend, she says, is expected to continue at an accelerated rate.
THE GIG: WHEN?
With FTC’s announcement came the good news that gigabit Internet speeds are available immediately throughout the entire area served by the cooperative’s fiber says Fred Johnson, executive vice president and general manager of FTC. “This network is the backbone for a new era of economic infrastructure in our entire service area, including those commercial areas such as Fort Payne that are essential to the overall economic well-being of the region.”
With the construction of its fiber network essentially complete, FTC decided last year to begin the work of making gigabit speeds available. “As electronics and customer demand evolved, we had confidence advanced learning tools, families will take advantage of new entertainment options and home automation technology, and businesses will use the ultra-high connection to compete and grow.
Beyond that lies a future that cannot be foretold. “Gigabit Internet access will undoubtedly inspire great innovation,” Johnson says, “as people create new ways to harness the power of such incredible bandwidth and put it to work — to improve our communities and our overall quality of life.”
©Farmers Telecommunications Coop, 2015