Over the past week, significant business announcements have been made in the tri-county region. Boeing finalized plans to locate R&D and engineering here, and Benefitfocus broke ground on new space to accommodate 1,200 new knowledge workers.
This year-end push punctuates numerous recent developments, ranging from the heightened attention our Silicon Harbor is receiving, to the successful launch of the DigSouth and TEDX events, and continued robust growth among key industries.
Tremendous effort has been made in recent years to solidify the tri-county's knowledge economy. It is clear that committed individuals and organizations are making dramatic progress.
It's in this context that our companies have joined forces to fuel the knowledge economy with a powerful, fast, reliable fiber optic network that eclipses anything available in this state or 29 others. By answering the Federal Communication Commission's Gigabit Challenge, the new Nexton community in Summerville (at the I-26/17A intersection) has become the state's most technologically advanced.
Our first tenants will not arrive for a month. But when they do a gigabit connection will be ready and waiting for them.
Fiber infrastructure with gigabit speeds is a bet on the future. Laying down fiber that fosters 100 times the power of other networks may exceed current needs, but positions the community on the cutting edge of technology. The most exciting thing about having a gigabit is we will be ready to power ideas that haven't been conceived yet.
The possibilities are endless. Just this week, the world's favorite social media platform announced video ads will churn through copious amounts of data.
This is a platform that didn't exist a decade ago. In recent years we've learned to Skype friends and family abroad, download entire movies onto smartphones, and store our most prized documents in "the cloud."
By running gigabit support to every user at Nexton, we equalize access to information. Indeed, whether one is seated at a desk in a corporate headquarters or on a park bench, complete, reliable, and redundant access to the rest of the world will be available. And it will be fast.
We also improve quality of life. Having this capacity delivers on the promise of creating a new business center for the region. We foster a "reverse commute" culture, relieving congestion on I-26 and allowing people to work in close proximity to where they live.
This region has made enormous strides in preparing itself for "what's around the corner." By envisioning its potential attraction for high-performing workers - and investing energy and resources in strategic ways - our community has laid the groundwork for success.
And working together, our two companies have literally laid the pipe ("pipe" that is about the width of a strand of hair) to power future innovation. We encourage other business leaders in the region to consider how they might partner with their peers to prepare this region to meet what is known and that which we can scarcely imagine.
Ken Seeger is president of MWV Community Development and Land Management. William S. Helmly is president and chief operating office of Home Telecom.