Shelby firm’s statewide fiber network makes NC a ‘gigabit state’ – March 12, 2014

Shelby, N.C. — RST Fiber on Tuesday activated a North Carolina-wide fiber optic network covering some 3,100 miles, thus making North Carolina a “gigabit state.”

Gigabit refers to the high-speed access the network can provide and is a term often used to refer to Google Fiber’s broadband efforts.

Offering up to 100-gigabit per second Internet access, the North Carolina company says it has deployed a network to support the “Internet of Everything” as described by Cisco CEO John Chambers.

The privately held, Shelby-based company is using Cisco gear to help light up the network, which is all underground.

“The network we have built is what Cisco CEO John Chambers describes as the ‘Internet of Everything,’” said Dan Limerick, one of three co-founders of RST Fiber.

“Our goal is to ensure that communities across the Tar Heel state and the upstate of South Carolina will have access to ultra-high-speed broadband and many other fiber-delivered services a network like this can provide, helping to level the economic and educational playing field for everyone,” he added.

“We firmly believe that fiber infrastructure is the future. While Google is building in metropolitan cities like Kansas City, Mo., Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah, RST has established a statewide backbone connecting the larger metro areas, in addition to reaching a large number of rural communities. We’re also deploying carrier-class, cutting-edge WiFi capable of delivering one-gigabit symmetrical wireless service network-wide.”

RST is targeting Charlotte followed by Raleigh and parts of the Triangle as well as Asheville for deployment over the next 60 days.

Google Fiber has listed the Research Triangle and Charlotte metro areas as candidates for its next round of gigabit networks.

A consortium of local governments and universities also are planning a North Carolina Next Generation Network to cover the Triangle as well as parts of the Triad.

The North Carolina Research and Education Network already operates a fiber-based network across the state, but it is for non-business use. MCNC, which is based in RTP, operates the network.

However, private firms can lease unused fiber that is part of NCREN. RST is one of MCNC’s customers.

RST plans to offer a variety of services over the network in addition to high-speed Internet.

Other services that can be supported over the latest version of Internet protocol technology will include:

  • Uncompressed 4K television
  • VoIP (voice over Internet protocol)
  • Online education
  • Telemedicine
  • HD video security/surveillance
  • Ala carte movies and programming

Video and TV services are expected to be added by the end of the second quarter, according to RST.

Limerick launched the company along with Doug Brown and Randy Revels. All are natives of Cleveland County, where Shelby is located.