Last night, at their city council meeting, Westminster, Maryland officially chose Ting to be the network operator and first service provider on their city-owned fiber optic network.
We are terribly proud of ourselves and thrilled to be involved in such a laudable initiative.
Westminster is in Carroll County, about 35 miles outside of Baltimore. It is home to about 20,000 people, 3,000 businesses, a handful of ghosts, some nice walking trails and an honest-to-goodness astronomical observatory under construction. (This is a town that thinks big.)
Like many other cities around the United States, the folks in Westiminster, led by a superstar city councilman, pediatrician and published novelist named Robert Wack, decided they didn’t want to wait for any cable or telephone company to bring them fiber-to-the-premises. They believed that super fast Internet could bring and grow businesses, create jobs, increase property values and improve the quality of life for all residents. They also realized that infrastructure that is crucial to the city, and likely will be for the next hundred years, should rightly be owned by the city.
So, they secured a budget, mapped out the Westminster Fiber Network, which will initially reach approximately 9,000 homes and 500 businesses and began digging this past October.
Next, they chose to find a partner in the private sector to turn that “dark fiber” into an affordable, usable Internet service for those homes and businesses. Someone with experience building on a third-party network. Someone who could provide a platform for other service providers to build on. Someone with interfaces that make it easy for customers to view bills or manage services. Someone who would answer the phone when customers call and stop at nothing to solve their problems. But where would they find such a company?! Who ever heard of a service provider adored by its … if only Consumer Reports published some sort of ratings to …
It all feels like a really nice model for how this stuff should work. The city of Westminster builds a fiber network underneath the streets, driveways, hills and valleys they know best and ultimately owns their own future. We do pretty much exactly what we have been doing for our mobile customers for three years. Most importantly, the people of Westminster, Maryland will join the ranks of Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Chattanooga and, soon, Charlottesville, Virginia with blazing fast video streaming, photo uploading, economy driving, job-creating Internet to boast and enjoy.
Congratulations and thank you, Westminster.