Local News

Wilson Takes on Cable Giant With New Fiber-Optic Network

Posted February 26, 2008 6:30 p.m. EST

— Wilson is installing its own Internet, cable and phone service to sell to residents. The plan is creating competition with Time Warner, currently the largest cable provider in the city.

Wilson installed a 30-mile loop of fiber-optic line about two years ago. Since then, crews have dug and laid several hundred miles of fiber lines throughout the city.

Wilson officials believe high-speed Internet technology is crucial to attracting new businesses.

“It's lightening compared to other places and you can have more users on it,” Sunil Patel said.

Patel opened a hotel in Wilson last week, and was one of the first to tap into the new fiber lines.

Soon high-speed Internet, phone service and cable TV will be offered to any business or home in the city limits.

“It's an exciting thing. It's a community based network and we're really glad to see it coming to fruition here,” Brian Bowman, the city’s public information manager, said.

Some city officials said they are worried Time Warner Cable will unfairly fight to keep its subscribers.

Bowman said Wilson residents have been flooded recently with new deals and offers from Time Warner.

“The cable company has started calling people in Wilson and offering to double their Road Runner speeds at no extra cost if they'll sign a two-year contract. My understanding is their not making that offer in Raleigh,” Bowman said.

“We are aware of what the city is doing. We are aware of what our customers want and we're working hard to market to those customers to provide those services,” said Brad Phillips, of Time Warner Cable.

Phillips also claims Time Warner updates its services to stay competitive everywhere.

“We're not doing anything that's targeted just for Wilson unlike anywhere else. A promotion that's offered in Raleigh is available in Wilson and vice-versa,” he added.

“We don't mind the competition. The competition is welcomed. We just want them to be honest,” Bowman said.

Last year, the Local Government Commission approved financing to expand the $28 million fiber optic project.

Wilson officials said the fiber-optic network will be self-supportive and use no tax money. Only residents who choose to subscribe will pay for the system.

Wilson plans to start rolling out its new residential service this spring.