Based outside of Charlotte, N.C., Open Broadband provides hybrid fiber and fixed-wireless ISP technology to bring broadband internet services to businesses, residences, and community areas. Fixed wireless technology has very low latency and can be faster than DSL, satellite, and cellular hotspots.
In order to provide fixed-wireless connections, circuits (i.e. private data connections that securely connect multiple locations with dedicated leased line data connectivity) and fiber cabling and connectivity to the towers are needed. As one of the largest fiber infrastructure providers in the U.S., with 30,000 route miles of fiber from Pennsylvania to Georgia, Segra has been a key factor in providing these services to Open Broadband.
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. 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.
Alan Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of Open Broadband, commented:
“We could not do this without Segra. 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.”
Ted Marshall, senior national account executive, at Segra, remarked:
“We began working with Open Broadband shortly after their inception in late 2017, providing fiber, internet, and data center infrastructure to them. 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.”
Per a press release, internet coverage deployed to underserved areas includes the following cases:
- The Carolinas: Open Broadband went into rural areas in North Carolina where residents had limited internet access with DSL services at about 3 MB/s. 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.
- Mt. 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 MB/s. 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.
- Mt. 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 MB/s 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 the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which helps low-income families stay connected to the internet. Future and prospective opportunities are in the works, according to company CEO Fitzpatrick, who concluded:
“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."
Segra is a subsidiary of Cox Communications.