RST Fiber starts drilling to bring high-speed broadband to Wake Forest

sbarr@newsobserver.comApril 18, 2014 

— A small fiber broadband company eager to make the town the Triangle’s first gigabit community launched its project here Tuesday.

RST Fiber began installing a network on Wait Avenue that will allow the company to test its high-speed Internet services in Wake Forest.

Then, if all goes well, RST would expand its service throughout the town, possibly as early as this summer.

The initial drilling on Tuesday is the first step toward building a fiber backbone between Raleigh and Wake Forest. The company will bore conduit 14 miles that it can then put fiber cables through, said Dan Holt, a member of the town’s broadband task force.

Through its network, RST promises speeds of one gigabit, 20 times faster than the download speed advertised in Time Warner Cable’s ultimate package and 200 times faster than the upload speed.

RST announced in March that it would offer Internet service to areas across the state and quickly indicated the town was at the top of its list.

Joe Freddoso, who heads the town’s broadband task force, said the concentration of housing and demographics that indicate many tech-savvy families and businesses would take advantage of the service were points in the town’s favor.

He said residents should start thinking about whether the service is one they would want.

But he also urged patience, saying that delays are possible.

“There are always things that happen during fiber build that you don't expect,” said Freddoso, who also heads broadband communications nonprofit MCNC.

The task force also has released a questionnaire for town’s residents about broadband service to gauge interest in the service. More than 1,200 people had filled out the survey by Tuesday, one third of the number the task force hopes to reach by the end of May.

Town officials say the service would be a plus for residents but also a major draw for businesses and those who work from home and want to connect quickly.

“We’re hoping that this is all going to pan out and be exactly what we think it’s going to be,” Mayor Vivian Jones said. “We have great confidence that it will.”

Jones said that broadband task force will transition into a more general role, offering advice on technology innovations to the town.

The survey is available at

Barr: 919-836-4952; Twitter: @barrmsarah

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