WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The city of Winston-Salem and five Triangle cities could soon be making the jump to one gigabit-speed Internet through an AT&T fiber service.
A timeline for the new service, U-verse with GigaPower, is not clear because AT&T's proposal is pending approval from Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary and Carborro. The participating cities and four North Carolina universities formed the North Carolina Next Generation Network to collaborate with AT&T. The universities include Wake Forest University, N.C. State University, UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University.
According to Ed McNeal with the city of Winston-Salem, the Finance Committee approved it Monday. It will now go to full Council next Monday, April 21.
"This is a notable moment in Winston-Salem's transition to a technology-based community," Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines said in a statement. "It will greatly assist our efforts to recruit and retain not only knowledge-based companies, but any company that depends on reliable, high-speed Internet – which in this day and age means almost any company."
AT&T has proposed to make its super-fast Internet service available at up to 100 public sites and 100 business buildings among the participating cities.
A gigabit, the speed per second expected from the fiber service, equals 1,000 megabits. Service providers in the Triad currently offer high-speed Internet services that average between 10-15 megabits per second.
AT&T's fiber service offers the same speed as the highly-sought-after Google Fiber. Cities and towns across the country have been competing for Google Fiber because of its significantly higher speeds. Google Fiber is currently only located in Provo, Utah; Kansas City, Mo.; and potentially Austin, Texas. At this time, AT&T offers their fiber service in Austin and Dallas.
"Access to gigabit speeds at affordable prices will create innovation in ways we are only beginning to understand," Winston-Salem CIO Dennis Newman said in a statement. "I am excited for our residents, our businesses, and for the opportunities it will bring for the city to better serve our citizens."
The city of Greensboro said it is currently not involved in any partnerships to bring gigabit-speed Internet service to the city, but it is interested in the service.