Media release: Parker FiberNet, a leading provider of communications services in Northwest Georgia, today announced the launch of Gigabit-speed Internet services for residents, small businesses and entrepreneurs in Rome. Parker's new GigNet service will initially be available in a targeted, mixed-use residential and business-innovation zone in the downtown area. GigNet will later be expanded regionally in partnership with the Appalachian Valley Fiber Network.
Parker FiberNet operates a high-speed optical fiber network that today connects hundreds of anchor institutions across eight counties in Northwest Georgia. The launch of GigNet will extend the reach of this network to residents, small businesses and entrepreneurs who require advanced, ultra-high-speed Internet services.
"This area has a remarkable industrial, cultural and creative potential that distinguishes it from the country and the world," said David Parker, founder and CEO of Parker FiberNet. "GigNet will remove any remaining barriers that prevent this potential from being openly shared with the world. It's time to remove the speed limit on growth and innovation in Northwest Georgia."
Rome will join other leading cities like Chattanooga,Tenn., Lafayette, La., and Bristol, Va., in offering one of the fastest Internet connections in the world. GigNet will accommodate speeds of up to one gigabit-per-second (Gbps), more than 200 times faster than the current national download speed average.
At the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced a goal to have at least one gigabit community in all 50 states by 2015. The chairman challenged broadband providers and state and municipal community leaders to come together to meet this "Gigabit City Challenge." By establishing gigabit communities nationwide, he said, we can accelerate the creation of a critical mass of markets and innovation hubs with ultra-fast Internet speeds.
"Rome has long been a magnet for creative, high-tech entrepreneurs who want to start or expand new businesses," said Rome Mayor Evie McNiece. "By responding to the FCC's Gigabit City Challenge, Rome will now compete with only a handful of U.S. cities to offer the most advanced Internet services in the world."
GigNet will be formally launched at a press event schedule to coincide with the upcoming Rome Confluence 2013 innovation conference taking place Feb. 21-22 in Rome. The venue for the event, the Historic DeSoto Theatre in downtown Rome, will be the first location to receive the new service. Attendees at the conference will be able to experience firsthand GigNet's breakthrough performance, and they will see examples of how local businesses and entrepreneurs are already putting it to use. Visit www.romeconfluence.com for more information about the conference.
"It is fitting that the DeSoto Theatre will be the first location connected to the GigNet service," said Tracy Slack-Hellriegel, facilities manager for the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation. "Completed in 1929, the DeSoto was the first theater in the south built exclusively for 'talking' movies, and for the past 25 years it has showcased Rome's cultural and creative potential by serving as the venue for our local amateur theater group, as well as many other local and regional performing arts events."
Since 2010, Parker FiberNet has been a key partner in the Appalachian Valley Fiber Network, a public-private partnership between Parker, the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission and various local governments. The U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration awarded a $21 million grant to AVFN through its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program to expand and improve connectivity throughout Northwest Georgia.
"This project demonstrates what can happen when enlightened federal policies, funding support, state and local leadership, the private sector, and communities all align to support a goal of investing in infrastructure for growth," noted Ken Carlton, business development director for AVFN. "We're excited to now strengthen this alignment even more by becoming the first city in Georgia to respond to Chairman Genachowski's Gigabit City Challenge."