Frequently Asked Questions

GeneralQuestions:

Q: What is an ultra-high speed network?

The NCNGN effort considers ultra-high speed networks to range from 100 mbps wireless up to 1 gigabit or higher wired, symmetric service. Symmetric means same speed for upload and download.

Q: How fast is a gigabit?

Gigabit speed networks give faster access to today’s services, and could make other activities like telecommuting, HD-quality videoconferencing, remote health services and the like, more easily achievable.  By way of example, if you currently have 10MB service, it takes over an hour to download a full movie. With a gigabit connection, it will take less than a minute.

Q: Do municipalities in North Carolina provide Internet services?

No. State law prevents municipalities from competing with commercial providers.  NCNGN focuses on private-sector providers to design, build, operate, and own the network.

Q: Who pays for the proposed gigabit networks? How much will this cost my municipality?

Vendors pay all costs associated with building, maintaining, and operating the network, including paying for rent on existing, unused fiber. The municipalities’ and university partners’ only anticipated costs are for existing staff time to oversee the project as it is built.

Q: When available, will the new services replace my current Internet, cable and phone service? How much will the new services cost?

The precise details of what services (Internet, phone, television) will be available, how much they will cost, and when and where they will be available are posted at the providers web site.

Q: What if my municipality is not part of NCNGN? Will this project do anything for me?

If what has happened in other regions is any indication, we could see gigabit service expanding to neighboring communities in response to demand for their services. While we can’t know for certain that this will happen, there is potential that even if your community is not part of the effort today, gigabit services may still be made available to you in the future. The NCNGN organization will continue to work to deploy gigabit networks within the Triangle and Piedmont-Triad regions, and will share what we have learned with others throughout the state.

There may also be indirect benefits. Experience in other communities also suggests that when one provider begins offering significantly higher speed services at attractive prices, other providers increase the speeds and/or lower the prices of their offerings in the same community and in nearby communities to compete.

ProcessQuestions:

Q: Why was AT&T’s response selected?

AT&T has the technical expertise, financial strength, and local presence to rapidly deliver broadband speeds up to 1 gigabit per second to residents and businesses in areas where there is sufficient demand. Additionally, AT&T proposed initiatives to increase access to broadband, such as providing free service with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second to up to 100 community sites across the six communities.

Q: Is AT&T’s proposal the only one being recommended to municipalities for approval?

AT&T’s proposal is the only one being recommended for approval at this time. Our communities remain active in discussions with other vendors.

Q: Will Google and AT&T be in competition?

AT&T and Google are not in competition for the right to do business in NCNGN municipalities, but eventually they will be competing for business from our citizens! Consumers win when providers face meaningful competition from other providers.

Companies offering new services or business models can also benefit from the presence of other companies offering similar services or business models. For example, AT&T and Google (as well as other providers) can both benefit from actions the other takes to identify ways municipalities can streamline processes or increase consumer awareness about the benefits of broadband speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.

Q: What considerations did the communities participating in NCNGN offer AT&T?

In the agreements the NCNGN members agree to attempt to streamline processes around permitting and inspections, ensure nondiscriminatory treatment for broadband providers that offer similar services, and support community education efforts about the benefits of gigabit networks.

Q: If I live in one of the six cities, am I guaranteed to get broadband?

AT&T’s business model will build to the areas in the municipalities where there is sufficient demand. In other words, where there are likely to be sufficient numbers of customers to recover their installation and operating cost over a period of time.

Q: How much does AT&T’s service cost residents?

Current pricing is available at the AT&T web site:  http://www.att.com/local/north-carolina/raleigh/

Q: Where is the AT&T service being rolled out first?

You can find out if service is available in your neighborhood by visiting the AT&T web site:  http://www.att.com/local/north-carolina/raleigh/.  AT&T does not provide any detailed plans on where they are planning to build the network.

Q: How soon can I receive the service?

Roll-out schedule and timetable will ultimately be determined by AT&T.  Some services are now available in Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem.

Q: Why is service to Durham delayed?

AT&T currently provides residential communication service to the other five municipalities but does not have any residential service in Durham, therefore their fiber build will take slightly longer.

Q: Who else responded to the RFP other than AT&T and Time Warner Cable?

Responses and the status of our discussions with other vendors will remain confidential until an agreement is actually signed.

 

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