Yesterday Fibrant Announced They Made a Profit for the First Time. (For the 2nd Year in a Row)

Posted on December 17, 2014

Steve Mensing, Editor

♦ Yesterday at Salisbury’s City Council meeting it was announced that Fibrant made a $229,000 profit and was in the black.  Rest assured Fibrant is nowhere near making a profit.  In fact it may be millions of dollars away except in the City of Make Believe.  Keep in mind this nonsense about Fibrant making a profit is coming from a city council that covered up the “mutual termination” of the former city manager and his “golden parachute” (not to mention the former Information Director’s “golden parachute”).  City council wanted to “move on”.

Also the city doesn’t as a rule answer public information requests about Fibrant.  You’ll get a runaround. That should tell you something about the city’s veracity and their lack of even minimal transparency.  If they really opened themselves up to public scrutiny, they’d be monumentally embarrassed.  Why doesn’t the city answer specific public information requests about Fibrant’s subscribers and specific expenditures, their employees and their pay? And a lot more?


Yesterday at city council they reported  that 2014 was the first year Fibrant was profitable since 2010.  Whoa! The city claimed Fibrant was profitable in 2013–right? Somebody down at city hall needs to get their stories straight.

Fibrant has never been in the black and certainly didn’t make a $229,000 profit.  That’s absurd.  Unless you trust “magic accounting” wherein the city hides Fibrant employees and their salaries in other departments, Fibrant expenses disappear into other departments, and other touches of accounting wizardy.  Remember last year Fibrant had only 3 employees?  (Maybe that’s all they really required to service their actual customer base?)

Gosh when I last lived in Salisbury I seldom saw Fibrant vehicles unless they were changing traffic lights or were digging up rotten fiber optic cable.   I sure saw scores of Time Warner Cable, AT&T U-Verse, and DirecTV trucks servicing homes and making installations.  Those three outfits completely dominate the Salisbury broadband scene.  Fibrant is a dot on a playing field surrounded by deep pocketed monsters.  They are extremely well-marketed, give deals, two of them don’t have contracts, and TWC will negotiate with customers when their deal times out.

Fibrant seems to have an arbitrary budget that denies its immense multi-million dollar debt and interest owed until 2029 (Well over a million dollars a year in debt and interest) and the $7.6 million dollars that needs to be paid back into the water/sewer fund.  If they don’t pay back the $7.6 million dollars into the water/sewer funds, Moody’s warned the city they will go junk bond status.   In business, net profits are equal to revenues minus expenses.  Does Salisbury have a dysfunctional definition of “expenses”?  If they are laying down any claim at all to profitability without factoring in $7.6 million dollars missing from the water/sewer funds or multiple millions still owed in debt and interest for the city’s certificate of participation bonds, something is off.

Here some questions that need to be asked:

Know that Fibrant allegedly possessing 3,200 subscribers is not what was needed to break even or make a profit.  The city originally said they needed 4,500 customers to break even and go ahead.  They have never hit that number.  How many of those alleged subscribers are paying full price?  How many are “gratis”?  Of those alleged subscribers, how many are actual Internet, TV, or VOIP phone subscribers?  If they even hit 3,200 subscribers they would have the additional burdens of servicing those alleged subscribers.

If Fibrant’s super high-speed is so much in demand, why did they have only a grand total of two 100 Mbps subscribers from 2010 to July of this year.  Those two got switched  to the gigabyte service.

If Fibrant was doing so hot, why did Michael Jury “resign”.  (He emailed a Charlotte area TV station that he had no plans to resign a few days prior to leaving the big team)

This year Moody’s and Fitch both downgraded Salisbury’s bond rating.  Moody’s warned Salisbury in April they would downgrade Salisbury to junk bond status unless they paid back $7.6 million dollars into the water and sewer funds.

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