Winston-Salem picked for city-wide ultra high-speed broadband

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A faster city-wide broadband network may soon be available to residents and businesses, according to a proposal announced Thursday.

Winston-Salem is one of six cities in the state chosen by AT&T for a new all-fiber ultra-speed broadband network which can deliver speeds of up to one gigabit per second, 10 times faster than the current fastest network.

"Lots of opportunities for small businesses and large businesses to improve their data transfer," said Mayor Allen Joines.

It's the kind of speed Joines says will likely have the greatest impact on technology based businesses like Inmar which collects and analyzes data from thousands of retail centers across the globe.

"We're trying to make ourselves the city of innovation and rapid change,” Joines said. “Having rapid data transfer is key to that."

Even small businesses like Chelsee's Coffee Shop and More in Winston-Salem say its biggest draw isn't lattes but internet speed.

“People needing to study, use the Wi-Fi, some people come in with other people and just watch a movie,” said owner Ginger Tinch.

It's a big difference from when the store first opened in February and connection was either hit or miss.

“People would come in buy a cup of coffee and walk out,” Tinch said. 'We had people actually call us and want to have a meeting here, but the WiFi wasn't fast enough.”

Tinch thinks the new network will be good for business which has doubled in foot traffic and had a 25 percent spike in business ever since getting faster internet speed.

"Now they come in and stay," Tinch said.

The city council's finance committee is scheduled to consider the proposal April 14.

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