Phones, Fiber and the Future

When the Olympics came to Atlanta and Hall County/Lake Lanier in 1996, BellSouth signed on as a corporate sponsor. In doing so, the company committed itself to transmit all of the video signal for NBC as they broadcast the games. People watching all over the world witnessed the rowing events as they were transmitted from Hall County to Atlanta via BellSouth fiber and then on to New York… all in some 44 milliseconds.

Since then, BellSouth has continued use of that fiber cable around the lake and added to it. Today, after 15 years of laying fiber, Hall county is served by more than 8,000 miles of fiber strand. It’s what gives local homes and businesses reliable service and positions businesses and homeowners here for the next generation of telecommunications services.

Among those new services is the often discussed DSL. Digital Subscriber Line is the full name for the service which provides customers with Internet access from their home or business at speeds up to 1.5 megabits per second or about 50 times faster than a 28.8 modem. And, just this past November, the service became available to many customers within about three miles of downtown Gainesville.

BellSouth’s DSL service, known as “Fast Access”, is always on (no dial-up necessary), uses standard phone lines, and is more secure than other high-speed internet services. It costs anywhere from $40-$60 per month depending on the customer and includes the Internet access. Customers wanting to know more about the service and whether it’s available on their phone number can access the website Customers can type in their number and immediately learn if they can have DSL today. If not, the company has a very aggressive plan to make it available to virtually all customers in the next two years.

As we move into 2001, BellSouth will more than double the number of Hall County customers with access to DSL. Not only will this year’s expansion include service to more customers in the Gainesville exchange, but by year’s end, many customers in Flowery Branch, Clermont and Lula will have access as well.

This year alone, BellSouth will install a new high-speed switch in Gainesville and spend approximately $8 million continuing to enhance an already state-of-the-art network. But as the technology improves and customers look for new and improved services, know that BellSouth will be ahead of the curve in deploying the type of electronics and infrastructure this county needs and deserves.

Paul Chambers is the Northeast Georgia District Manager for BellSouth. His responsibilities include representing the company to the media, elected officials, community organizations and key customer groups in a 16-county area including Hall County. A native of Athens, Georgia, he is a graduate of the University of Georgia. Paul is also a newly elected director of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.

Related Information