The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday May 16th

U-verse, Google Fiber could come to Chapel Hill

The AT&T fiber network could soon deliver AT&T U-verse, which can deliver high-speed broadband to consumers and businesses in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area, according to a press release from the company.

“There is no ratified agreement yet, it’s still very early on in the process,” said Gayle Kansagor, spokeswoman for AT&T.

Earlier this year, Google said it might bring its fiber system to Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh and Cary. The company said it will make its decision by the end of the year about which cities will get Google Fiber.

AT&T is still in discussion about a future agreement with the town.

Under AT&T’s plans, Chapel Hill and Carrboro customers would be able to quickly download an HD online movie, songs and TV shows with super-fast Wi-Fi speeds, the company said in a press release Monday.

The improvements could reach businesses as well as customers.

Businesses would be able to upload, download and share large data files and images.

Local businesses would also be able to back up data remotely in the cloud at one or multiple locations and video conference with suppliers, business partners and customers.

This expanded fiber build is not expected to impact AT&T’s capital investment plans for 2014. The company continues to expect its wired network to reach 57 million customer locations in 22 states by the end of 2015.

Town Councilwoman Maria Palmer said it looks like Google Fiber and AT&T are not mutually exclusive.

“I’m excited they both want to come,” Palmer said. “I think this area has incredible potential.”

She said some companies in the Triangle cannot do work without fiber and that it makes Chapel Hill incredibly competitive for businesses and jobs the town needs. She said a lot of businesses can’t do their work with the infrastructure the town has now.

Palmer said she thinks Chapel Hill has a lot to offer with the combination of the University and the quality of life in the area. She thinks companies would be willing to pay for the new service to support business.

The town is not providing either company with tax breaks or incentives of any kind.

“The 2020 vision plan is letting companies know Chapel Hill is a progressive place moving forward,” Palmer said.

With fiber systems, young people graduating from UNC with start-up ideas would have the infrastructure to make them a reality, Palmer said.

Not only would residents have access to faster, stronger and more reliable service — Palmer said more people would probably be able to work from home.

“We’re not only about the Old Well and postcards but we are a progressive up-and-coming technology-focused center ... all the things we’re doing have said to the companies that this is a place worth investing in,” she said.

city@dailytarheel.com



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