Wilson, N.C.: The Self-Described 'Gigabit City'

Jul 8, 2013

Credit Michel Tronchetti

The city of Wilson has finished installing a fiber optic Internet system.  It's the first such project in North Carolina that will provide the city of about 50,000 people with ultra-high speed Internet. 

Wilson runs its own broadband provider called Greenlight Community Broadband.  Greenlight general manager Will Aycock says the fiber optic system is running the city's services and available to residents.

"We're able to support the surveillance cameras and different sensors throughout the community to make us a smarter city.  Certainly, we're able to support many institutions here such as schools and libraries," Aycock says.

"It's really about removing the barriers between our residents, our institutions and the Internet so that people have all the bandwidth they need."

Aycock claims the new system has been attractive to outsiders.

"We're actually seeing folks deciding to move to Wilson from other areas because they want access to this next-generation network," he says.

"People even decide, if they're going to build a house, where to build a house.  For instance, radiologists want to be on the network because it helps them to more efficiently do their jobs from home."

The fiber optic system allows connections of up to a Gigabit per second, which is about 100 times faster than the average high-speed Internet connection.  Aycock says the system has cost about $35 million.