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Fibrant signs up 3,000th customer

SALISBURY — Four years after the initial test set-up, the city says Fibrant signed up its 3,000th subscriber on Tuesday.
Fibrant, which sells internet, television and phone services to residents and businesses within the Salisbury city limits, set up its first test customer in July 2010.
Fibrant launched in November 2010 and had more than 1,200 customers signed up by August 2011. Fibrant competes with private providers like Time Warner Cable.
As a state-of-the-art, fiber-to-the-home utility, Fibrant uses 100 percent fiber optics to carry communication services to residential homes and businesses.
“We here at Fibrant are excited about reaching this milestone of 3,000 subscribers,” Mike Jury, Fibrant manager, said in a news release. “The hard work and dedication our sales and operational staff have put in, allowing us to reach this City Council goal, could not make us more proud.”
The city hired Jury, an industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience, to run Fibrant in March 2012 when the utility had 1,700 subscribers.
Jury thanked Fibrant customers for supporting the network.
“We want to thank our loyal customers for choosing Fibrant, and helping us pave the way for the future,” he said. “The opportunity to continue on this upward path, while serving our community, is something we are committed to, in the present and coming years.”
For the first time since its inception, Fibrant is not scheduled to borrow money from other city funds during the current fiscal year, which started Tuesday. Fibrant owes the city’s water-sewer reserve fund more than $7 million, which it borrowed in past years to pay operating costs.
Fibrant has been generating enough money to pay debt service on the $33 million the city borrowed to build the network.
In March, Moody’s downgraded the city of Salisbury’s bond rating because of debt and risk associated with Fibrant. Moody’s said Fibrant was not living up to expectations to be self-supporting and will have a hard time meeting subscriber and revenue projections.
City officials disagreed with the downgrade.
City Councilman Brian Miller, who works as a market executive for BB&T, said the city’s financial picture has improved over the audit period that Moody’s examined. Fibrant is now a self-supporting enterprise fund, he said.
Another bond rating agency, Standard & Poor’s, upgraded the city’s bond rating twice in 2013.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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