Ting, a Sprint (NYSE: S) mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) partner, is building its own 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) by purchasing Charlottesville, Va.-based Blue Ridge InternetWorks (BRI).
Initially, the focus will be on bringing services to customers in the Charlottesville market. According to a Washington Post report, Ting will provide 1 Gbps service for about $100 a month, and expects to hook up around 12,000 homes in Charlottesville beginning in the first quarter of next year.
In a blog post, Ting said that it wants to appeal to local customers by applying the same level of customer service in Charlottesville that it had done in delivering its wireless service.
"In short, BRI and Ting are beautifully aligned: We both believe in a hands-off approach to the Internet at large and a hands-on approach to customer service," wrote Andrew Moore-Crispin, senior content manager at Ting. "Together, we think we can bring home Internet subscribers in Charlottesville the sort of shockingly human experience and fair, honest pricing that our mobile phone subscribers have appreciated so much these past couple of years (love you guys)."
While Charlottesville is the first market, the service provider indicated that it would explore the possibility of looking at other communities.
Taking a page out of Google Fiber's (NASDAQ: GOOG) "fiberhood" playbook, Ting has encouraged consumers to express their interest in having them bring fiber to their town by telling them on their Internet page.
"We'll be on the lookout for the next town or city in which we can lay down roots," wrote Moore-Crispin. "Roots made of fiber optic cable and ultimately leading right to the home. If you'd like to see Ting Internet in your town, let us know on the Ting Internet page."
Unlike Google Fiber, which has been helping to change how service providers and consumers look at broadband, Ting said it has a larger staff that can dedicate more attention to the rigors of bringing FTTP to more cities.
"We admire what Google is doing with and for gigabit fiber Internet access, but for the Internet giant, access is more of a side project," wrote Moore-Crispin. "Also, Google is a lot of great things but human scale isn't one of them."
Ting's entrance into the 1 Gbps broadband arena comes as more communities clamor to get fiber-based broadband service in their town.
Outside of the activity of Google Fiber and a number of telcos like AT&T (NYSE: T), CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), Cincinnati Bell and TDS, there's been growing momentum on the municipal broadband side. In November, seven Colorado communities voted to let their local government entities offer broadband services, for example.
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