Wilmington was the first city in the country to switch from analog to digital television back in 2008, and now the area can boast of another “first” in technology.
The Wilmington International Airport (ILM) Business Park has received the nation’s first AT&T Fiber Ready designation, making it the first airport business park in the country to do so.
“Like most businesses, AT&T is very careful who we partner with. We’re constantly analyzing the when, where and how to expand our fiber network,” said AT&T Regional Director of External Affairs John Lyon. The company, he said, has been working closely with the Wilmington Business Development over the last year. “ILM Business Park is the very first and only international airport to date to earn and obtain the fiber-ready certification.”
According to Lyon, the new fiber optic network, which has already been installed for one business and can be expanded to any others on the New Hanover County-owned property for free, will bring faster service to the park, making businesses more efficient. Lyon said Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which operates out of the main airport terminal, has also asked for the service in order to boost their customer service system, and the groundwork is in place for the rest of the terminal to also operate on the fiber network should officials ask for it.
“Speed and functionality – no matter what business you’re in today, that’s what the real need is,” said Lyon. “It was truly visionary for the New Hanover County Commissioners and the ILM Airport Authority to not only set aside a part of the property for business, but to also have the resources available [for it to prosper].”
Scott Satterfield of Wilmington Business Development said his organization is proud of and grateful for the relationship they have with one of the country’s leading technology providers, which will help the region attract new companies.
“The companies of today need the infrastructure of today, and that means high speed access,” Satterfield said. “That’s the important thing for idea-driven businesses.”
New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Beth Dawson agreed.
“Through this advanced communications technology, we will also be a cyber gateway for the virtual products that move in the information marketplace,” Dawson said. “This fiber-ready designation gives our economic developers a new tool to attract new jobs.”
Lyon tied it into another “first” North Carolina proudly displays on state license plates.
“North Carolina is known nationally as the first in flight,” Lyon said. “Now ILM will be known as the first in fiber.”