Internet Speeding Up in Detroit and Kentucky

Although it’s hard to be frustrated at the pace of broadband expansion, high-speed networks are becoming more common every day. Some are built by municipalities, and others by huge Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Two of the newest high-speed projects have found different ways to bring faster Internet speeds to consumers. Not Your Father’s Internet The Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was once synonymous with speed on Woodward Avenue, but now it’s Rocket Fiber that’s showing the world how Detroit does speed: the company claims its new gigabit service will be 100 times faster than the national average. Rocket Fiber is tugging at the city’s heartstrings, positioning itself as “Detroit’s assembly line of the 21st Century.” It’s emphasizing opportunities for innovation over recreation, though 1 Gbps will certainly be enough for any streaming entertainment you can imagine. The decline and decentralization of the American auto industry does make Detroit a good candidate for an economic rebirth, and Rocket Fiber claims that 1 Gbps will make Detroit “a competitive city of the future.” Gigabit home service will cost $70 per month, the same price Google charges in other markets. Woodward will actually represent the center of the new network, which will begin in the Central Business District and Midtown before expanding to surrounding neighborhoods including New Center, Woodbridge, Corktown, Rivertown, Lafayette Park, and Eastern Market. Motown residents who don’t see their neighborhood listed can contact Rocket Fiber and request service; the company says the neighborhoods that express the most demand will get service sooner. Bluegrass Broadband by a Nose Frankly, it was about time Kentucky did something about its Internet speeds: according to Akamai’s Q4 2014 State of the Internet Report, Kentucky ranks 48th in average statewide Internet speeds, at only 7.8 Kbps, and a full quarter of state residents don’t have access to 25 Mbps broadband. That time is now here, as Kentucky has struck an agreement to bring a fiber network to the state’s eastern corridor. In a fairly complex deal, Australian firm Macquarie Capital will lead construction and pay for the majority of construction costs, but the state will actually own the network. The state authorized $30 million in bonds to help pay some of the construction costs, and the Appalachian Regional Commission, a government-operated economic development group, will pay another $15 million. Macquarie will make its money back by charging state government offices for Internet access, and by charging third-party ISPs for access to the network. Pricing and available speeds will vary by provider. Those ISPs could be private companies or municipal networks, as Kentucky has no law against them. It’ll be up to these networks to provide last-mile connection to their subscribers. Construction is scheduled to finish in 2016, and in 2018, the network will expand west to connect the rest of the state. Your Turn Is Coming It seems that every day there’s a new story about a new broadband network under construction or in the planning stages. Has connectivity turned the corner yet? Is the high-speed revolution here? That kind of announcement is hard to quantify, but Internet access isn’t going to get slower. It’s only going to get faster. If your Internet connection doesn’t seem to be getting any faster, maybe it’s time you found a new connection. As the above examples show, there are plenty of ISPs eager to bring you faster service. [zipfinder] Photo Credit: Andrew Langdal/Flikr

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Will Smith is a copywriter living in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His favorite word is “petrichor,” and aside from wordplay, he loves reading history, watching Dodger baseball, and racing with the Sports Car Club of America.

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