AT&T announced that city officials in Winston-Salem, N.C. have ratified an agreement that will clear the way for AT&T to offer the municipality its 1-Gbps U-verse with GigaPower service via fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networking installations.
Winston-Salem is the first of six cities that are part of the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN) initiative to ratify an agreement for 1-Gbps FTTH with AT&T. As reported by CablingInstall.com's sister site, Lightwave, the service provider announced an initial agreement with the NCNGN cities this past April. The other five cities are Cary, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, and Raleigh. City leaders in each of these cities have similar agreements with AT&T under review. Four universities – Duke University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest University/Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center – are part of the NCNGN as well.
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The group of municipalities and associated universities issued an RFP in February 2013 in search of a partner or partners to help build high-speed broadband access networks in the region. AT&T was one of eight respondents to the RFP, and in April of this year the NCNGN Steering Committee approved a resolution that its members seek authorization to enter master network development agreements with AT&T. The plan AT&T proposed to the NCNGN includes options for public Wi-Fi hotspots, free AT&T U-verse with GigaPower at up to 100 public sites, and an all-fiber-optic network connected to up to 100 business buildings. It also outlines a free 3-Mbps AT&T U-verse Internet offer that would be available to 10 affordable housing complexes, up to 3000 homes. The hotspots, public sites, buildings, and apartment complexes covered by this part of the proposal would cross the six communities and be identified by NCNGN.
AT&T did not say when the 1-Gbps services would become available in Winston-Salem. U-verse services with lower data rates are currently available in the city, as well as in all of the other NCNGN cities except Durham, home of Duke University. In addition to the NCNGN cities, the carrier also hopes to extend the 1-Gbps GigaPower service to Greensboro and Charlotte, N.C., part of a recently released list of 21 markets that may see 1-Gbps FTTH offered by AT&T.
"We're thrilled that Winston-Salem will be in the next round of cities for AT&T's rollout of its U-verse with GigaPower," commented Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines. "Our city has a well-deserved reputation as a technology and medical leader and a network of this magnitude will help take the work underway in both those areas to new levels of innovation and achievement."