The Fibrant Myths Debunked. It is Outrageously Overpriced, Often Unstable, Offers Lousy TV and Telephone, and Good Luck Getting Service

Posted on February 24, 2018

Steve Mensing, Editor

♦ Recently someone sent me an editorial from an alleged newspaper in Salisbury concerning Fibrant being a clunker.  That’s probably the wrong term for Salisbury’s municipal broadband disaster.  In Salisbury Spectrum and AT&T super high-speed internet are eating Fibrant alive.  Business customers and residential customers are jumping ship from the Fibrant Debacle to Spectrum, AT&T U-verse, DirecTV, and DISH.    Spectrum which has NO residential contracts and NO business contracts, offers bargain basement introductory prices and buyouts if the customer is still stuck with a Fibrant contract, offers over-the-top high-speed internet up from 200 Mbps to a gig, and great service.  Plus with Spectrum you can negotiate your service’s prices when they raise their price at the end of  introductory price.  They have great retention specialists and customer care vice-presidents.  They understand the importance of retaining their customers and keeping them happy.

The Fibrant debacle is not even remotely competitive with their unstable phone service when compared with other VOIP services of any of the privates.  I use MagicJack/Go and it’s a huge bargain with studio quality sound.  Most people don’t even trifle with residential VOIP, they use their smart phones and save a bundle. Truth be told many people never use wireline computers and laptops to get on the internet, they use their smartphones.  Fiber optic wirelines have a limited future with 5 gig home internet on the near horizon.

Fibrant TV is overpriced and 3rd rate with antiquated hardware.  People are getting their TV by “cutting the cord” using omni-directional TV antennas to receive over-the-air TV. ROKU, Apple, and Fire TV devices rule the roost.

I agree with parts of the editorial: “Fibrant was poorly planned”, “The idea of build it and they will come” (never happened), “Fibrant did not understand the market”, “It had no business leadership”.  Salisbury’s current local business advisors lack important telecom experience which greatly limits their capacity to offer advice on broadband.

The people who originally put Fibrant together jumped into Salisbury blindly.  Salisbury was already saturated with internet, TV, and phone providers.  A great many folks in Salisbury do not have or care about computers.  About 25% of persons living in Salisbury fall below the poverty line.  Fibrant did not realize that most nationwide businesses have their own high-speed t-lines or dedicated ethernet.  These companies won’t ever buy Fibrant. Salisbury is a tiny market and Spectrum, AT&T, DISH, and DirecTV already have it staked out.

It’s BS that Time-Warner Cable and AT&T spent millions in their lobbying efforts to destroy Fibrant and protect their monopolies.  Nobody pays lobbyists anywhere near that kind of money.  Most lobbyists might get around $5,000 a month if they’re lucky.  TWC, AT&T, DirecTV, DISH, Windstream, etc. never had a monopoly–they competed against each other.  Fibrant was and is a non entity.  It wasn’t selling and it never even remotely turned any corner.  It came out with no redundancy and would be down for days at a time.  Everyone I knew dumped it in the beginning.  Even today they go down and their CATV VOIP phone is unstable.  By the way let us remind everyone that the Fibrant Debacle had a lobbyist during their desperate fight for survival in Raleigh.  Let me remind the editorial writer that Fibrant was represented by Tom Fetzer a very expensive lobbyist.

The legislature made a major error by giving Salisbury an exemption.  Fibrant went on to decimate Rowan-Salisbury Utilities, draining them for 7.6 million dollars and snatching millions from Salisbury’s general fund.  The poor saps in Salisbury are being taxed, paying exorbitant fees, and getting minimal city services including an understaffed police department due to the Fibrant debacle.

If anyone in Salisbury is truly interested in “saving their hometown” they will drop their Fibrant services immediately and let the city go belly up, so the LGC might order a forensic audit to see where all the money disappeared to between Fibrant’s soft rollout in the fall of 2010 until June in 2011 when Salisbury started dipping bigtime in water and sewer.

The people in Rowan County are profoundly disinterested in Fibrant.  Many of them hate anything that reeks of Salisbury.  They know they are paying for it through their water and sewer bills like the residents of Salisbury who are being taxed and fee’d for Fibrant backdoor style even though they don’t use the service.

Then there was the myth promoted that Spectrum does not serve the entire county.  Spectrum is well represented throughout Rowan County save for where there are few people living out in poorly populated rural areas.  Rowan County also has AT&T, Windstream, DISH, DirecTV.  Luckily it’s against the law for Fibrant to go outside Salisbury’s boundaries.  Luckily I say because the taxpayers of Salisbury would be on the hook for Fibrant wiring out in the county.

There was a sound reason why the Rowan County Government and the Rowan-Salisbury’s School System shot down buying services from Fibrant.  Fibrant doesn’t cut it.




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