The installation of Hilton Head Island's network of fiber optic cables exemplifies how we are joining communities across the country in expanding our broadband infrastructure to meet growing technology demands and remain competitive.
Much like we expect to have quality water, sewer access, good roads and a secure power grid, we need broadband connectivity to attract new businesses, support technological needs for existing businesses and residents, sustain a robust hospitality industry and grow real estate values.
Technology is infused in our everyday life and our work. Our students rely on the internet for research and homework. Our medical community requires reliable access for telehealth services. Business travelers and vacationers want strong WiFi connections whether they are in a conference gathering or relaxing on the beach.
Even within Town government, our ability to conduct business and provide services depends upon having advanced technology and strong connectivity.
For the past few years, the Town of Hilton Head has been working closely with Hargray Communications, our local communications provider, to help ensure the Town has the most robust broadband infrastructure that any town in America can boast. I am pleased to report that we are well on our way to achieving that goal.
On Hilton Head Island alone, Hargray has invested approximately $30 million to connect homes and businesses with fiber, and has installed approximately 3 million feet of fiber optic cable - enough to stretch from the island to Washington, D.C.
With these investments, more than two-thirds of our residents and an even higher percentage of businesses can now be served by fiber to the premises (FTTP) infrastructure. This is something that is currently available to only 13% of homes nationwide.
Hargray has also increased the capacity of its network exponentially, and has upgraded all of its systems and electronics to brand new, state-of-the-art equipment.
The company has installed direct connections to the most popular destinations on the internet, so its customers get the best possible experience with programs and streaming services.
Hargray plans to continue making these investments allowing Hilton Head Island to become one of a small number of communities nationwide with near-ubiquitous access to FTTP services. With a strong partner like Hargray, we are sure to have a solid network of connectivity.
John McCann is the mayor of Hilton Head Island. JohnM@hiltonheadislandsc.gov