Let’s make 2017 the year of Fibrant

Published 12:04 am Sunday, January 1, 2017

By Rex Boner

Special to the Salisbury Post

My wife and I moved from Atlanta to Salisbury about a year ago. We are delighted to be out of the big city and in Salisbury closer to our children and grandchildren who live in Raleigh and Huntersville. We could have moved anywhere in Piedmont North Carolina, but chose Salisbury because of its charming downtown, its diversity, the terrific historic homes, the large beautiful mural that might be the largest in North Carolina, a vibrant restaurant scene, access to nearby fishing and hiking, and the impressive internet service provided by Fibrant.

When we first looked at Salisbury, we were truly surprised that it had its own symphony, performing arts venues, and the fastest internet service in America. After nearly 30 years in Atlanta, attaining the charm of small-town living with unparalleled internet access to the rest of the world seemed like a pretty good deal.  And it has turned out to be just that.  We subscribed to Fibrant before we had even completed our move, and my wife and I have been extremely pleased with this decision.

Over the course of the past year, however, I have learned that only a small fraction of the businesses and residents in Salisbury actually subscribe to Fibrant. I have made inquiries as to why this is so since we believe the quality is superior to the internet provider we used in Atlanta, and the prices are actually cheaper.  What I am gleaning is that the reasons people don’t subscribe are many, but most of the reasons seem to not be very strong.

I hope we can collectively work to increase participation in Fibrant. While I don’t know many of the details, it appears that a relatively small increase in participation will enable the service to become profitable.  I understand it took some time to get the system in place and that there were several early glitches.  I also understand that there was
political baggage attached to the decision to move forward with this investment nearly a decade ago. 

That is water under the bridge at this point.  My wife and I have experienced uninterrupted service for just over a year, and we are pleased with the internet bandwidth that can handle many streaming devices at our house at the same time. This is not a toxic asset. Fibrant is something that we should be very proud of, and I believe that it will prove to be a helpful component of our city’s economic development efforts.

Why we would collectively choose out-of-town internet and television providers who do not invest in our community and who provide more expensive and inferior service is beyond me. Throw in the fact that low Fibrant subscription rates ultimately leads to higher city costs since we own this system no matter what, and the decision to utilize it and benefit from it seems like a “no-brainer.”

As relative newcomers without the baggage of history, we are blessed to be able to see Fibrant for what it is, and that is a fantastic internet, phone, and television provider that is superior to other providers at similar or lower prices.

As we welcome the New Year, let’s make 2017 the year of Fibrant in Salisbury. Let’s encourage our friends, neighbors and businesses to subscribe to Fibrant and to invest in our city’s future. Let’s stop sending our checks to behemoth, multi-national companies that will never invest a penny in Salisbury beyond what it takes to get our money. It really is surprising to me that I even feel the need to write such a letter as this. I hope that others agree that the path forward is clear.

Rex Boner lives in Salisbury.