High-speed internet links Asheville, NC to Atlanta
Asheville, NC, datacenter Netriplex and AT&T have recently announced plans to install a direct optical-fiber pipeline between Asheville and Atlanta by the end of the year, boosting high-speed internet access for the Ashville metro area.
An idea initially conceived to allow Netriplex to move large amounts of data for major clients, the new high speed internet connection will be the largest ever in Asheville, and will make the city the smallest area in the nation to have that type of connection.
The 10-gigabyte-per-second connection is a step forward in bridging the digital divide in western North Carolina. The Asheville area is generally underserved when it comes to high-speed internet access. But by next spring the new AT&T/Netriplex pipeline may be available for other local businesses, opening up new, more efficient methods of communication and promotion for both Netriplex and Asheville as a whole. Members of the city have been promoting the potential positive impact the AT&T/Netriplex line could have on the Asheville community and preparing to take full advantage of high-speed connectivity. ERC Broadband general manager Hunter Goosmann said,
"We need to apply [the AT&T/Netriplex high-speed internet line] in a business and educational sense, developing significantly more opportunities."
The AT&T/Netriplex pipeline has the potential to boost the Asheville economy, however it will do little to help residents in the rural areas of western North Carolina, which are becoming more populated but are not yet connected. In fact, several North Carolina counties have seen their high-speed internet connectivity percentages decrease over the past five years as more people move into areas where that type of access is not available. The e-NC Authority, a government-funded group dedicated to bringing high-speed internet to every corner of the state, believes the time has come for a Netriplex-quality connection for rural North Carolina. As e-NC director Jane Patterson told the Asheville Citizen-Times:
"…what we are now trying to push for is broadband expansion into the most underserved areas of our state, which are often rural and economically disadvantaged. Dial-up won’t cut it anymore--plain and simple. If broadband connectivity levels in this many homes, schools, and businesses is so inadequate, we can’t expect companies to thrive and remain competitive, or that our rural children will have a chance to learn the latest technology."
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