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RST Fiber lights up 100G-fiber backbone in N.C.

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 12:49pm
Mike Robuck

RST Fiber is laying claim to being the first privately-owned company in the nation to fire up a 100-gigabit backbone network using carrier-grade IPv6.

The 3,100-mile underground network, which is supplemented by Wi-Fi, stretches across RST Fiber’s home state of North Carolina. RST Fiber said the symmetrical broadband service would be offered to businesses and residential subscribers in both rural and metropolitan areas.

RST Fiber has big plans in store for the network. In addition to broadband, services will also include uncompressed 4K television; VoIP; online education; telemedicine; HD video security/surveillance; a la carte movies and programming; smart grid connectivity/transport; and “countless emerging new technologies.” Video and television services are slated to launch by the end of the second quarter.

"The network we have built is what Cisco CEO John Chambers describes as the ‘Internet of Everything,’" said Dan Limerick, co-founder 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.

“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 Wi-Fi capable of delivering one-gigabit symmetrical wireless service network-wide.”

The network was built out on the Cisco Evolved Programmable Network (EPN), which combines a variety of infrastructure technologies including the Cisco Network Convergence System (NCS 2000).

RST Fiber said its network used less energy than other networks and that it was completely "greenfield." Because RST's fiber was laid almost entirely underground, maintenance requirements and outages, especially those from extreme weather condition, were reduced.

Founded in 2010 and privately funded by Cleveland County, N.C. natives Dan Limerick, Doug Brown and Randy Revels, RST Fiber's clients include data centers, municipalities, healthcare organizations, schools and universities, businesses and homes.

“Ensuring that North Carolina has the next-generation infrastructure and fiber networks needed to carry our data traffic and provide broadband services to our businesses, community institutions, and citizens is critical,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker. “We appreciate RST Global’s investment in North Carolina and look forward to working with them to continue to push broadband deployment and growth, allowing for increased opportunities in economic development, education and efficiency for our state.”

Time Warner Cable has a large presence in North Carolina. Last year Time Warner Cable bought Charlotte-based DukeNet Communications for $600 million in cash. DukeNet was a regional fiber optic network company serving customers in North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as five other states in the Southeast.

Over the past few years, Time Warner Cable has worked diligently to upgrade its network in North Carolina in order to offer more advanced services to its residential and business customers. In 2012, Time Warner Cable opened the doors on its first national data center in Charlotte, which enabled it to consolidate its video sourcing and infrastructure for data, cloud and phone services and its internal enterprise system. Time Warner Cable Business Class serves its gigabit service to numerous schools in the state across its fiber optic network. 

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