Underground fiber network expands across North Carolina

September 2013, Vol. 68 No. 9
Image: Jim Sher.

Despite North Carolina’s reputation as a center of research and higher learning, many businesses and residents struggle with limited or non-existent Internet access. As RST Global Communications LLC (RST) expands its service footprint statewide, those technology issues could soon be a thing of the past.

The Shelby, NC-based fiber-optic provider announced that its network map has increased from 500 miles to 3,000 miles – encompassing even the most rural of regions in North Carolina. The aggressive growth was made possible through additional network builds and recent mergers and acquisitions. This includes an investment in fiber built by MCNC through the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative, the recently completed $144 million expansion of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN).

RST representatives say the network expansion could generate hundreds of thousands of new customers, ensure high-speed service across North Carolina and help position the Tar Heel state as a prime destination for economic development and education.

“The consequences of outdated network infrastructure are serious for our state,” said Dan Limerick, RST’S CEO. “Businesses – which now consider Internet access to be as basic as electricity and water service – are hesitant to locate anywhere that can’t provide reliable high-speed connectivity. Rural healthcare providers are limited in their ability to offer services that require online consultation or the ability to access an insurer’s online database. We believe that fiber-connected communities are the future – and our world-class network provides an increasingly attractive business environment.”