Broadband Public/Private Partnerships Are Working in North Carolina

Clic Guest Blog by Kathy Scheller, Director, Government Relations, MetroNet

As the fastest growing 100% fiber company in the nation, MetroNet continues to prove that collaboration is the key to successful fiber optic deployment in over 100 communities across 9 states.  Most recently, the cities of Fayetteville and Greenville, North Carolina announced MetroNet’s intention to construct a fiber optic network providing high-speed internet, television, and phone in their cities with a combined investment by the company of $110 million.   How does that happen? 

Enter the Public/Private Partnership.

When MetroNet comes into a new city with a fiber optic deployment of this magnitude, it is critical that there is a willingness to work together on a successful implementation.  Both Fayetteville and Greenville stepped up to the plate to do the work on their part while keeping the level playing field for their cities at the forefront. 

Leadership, not only from the cities, but also from their respective municipal electric utilities, strategized with MetroNet early in the process regarding necessary staff requirements, permitting, city/state ordinances and a continual construction communication process. The result is a solid plan to work together to bring in a world-class fiber optic infrastructure that will be a game changer for residents and businesses alike in both Fayetteville and Greenville.  For MetroNet to make the investment, it is critical that this effective public/private partnership is achievable.

In evaluating potential communities for the fiber optic deployment/investment, MetroNet goes through an extensive due diligence process.  While it was determined that both Fayetteville and Greenville were underserved in their broadband capabilities, the city leadership in support of the initiative from both communities proved to be a determining factor in MetroNet’s entrance into North Carolina.

As MetroNet’s fiber optic network begins to light up both cities, the impact will be immediate.   Homes will be able to access symmetrical broadband speeds (currently up to 1 Gig) that will support multiple devices utilized for school and work, streaming, video conferencing and more.  Businesses will be able to customize their fiber access and utilization as well.  As we have learned through the pandemic, this infrastructure is essential.  From an economic development perspective, MetroNet’s presence will create jobs not only for the company, but also within Fayetteville and Greenville.  Finally, with broadband funds becoming available at the federal and state level to insure digital equality, MetroNet will have a seat at the table in both Fayetteville and Greenville to discuss future initiatives to address the digital divide as public/private partners.

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