Hargray brings faster internet to the Lowcountry

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Do you ever find yourself waiting for your computer to download information, frustrated at the slow speed of the internet? Dave Dobbin, senior vice president of technology and engineering at Hargray Communications, has a solution: gigabit internet speeds for your home.

An average household typically runs around seven internet-ready devices constantly and that number is steadily on the rise. By 2020, homes are predicted to have an average of 50 devices connected to the internet, interfacing with everything from the refrigerator to tools that track health.

All of these pull bandwidth, reducing access to the speed and data transfer ability of the network. The solution is to be able to pull more power and capacity. To stay ahead of trends, Hargray has recently made a substantial investment in the Lowcountry, laying fiber-optic cables through the service area. As a result, just like a bigger city environment, Hargray’s customers are able to access a full gigabit connection to the internet. These services are offered to many residents and businesses in Bluffton, Hilton Head Island, Savannah, Statesboro, Hinesville, Macon and Valdosta, with Beaufort, Pooler and Hardeeville to be added later this year.

“People need more bandwidth than they think. Five years ago, you might have had a 15-megabit connection to your house and thought that was just fine. Trust me, you need more,” says tech expert Dobbin. He is the father of a teenager and understands the frustration of a limited network. “That’s why getting a gigabit is a real game-changer.”

Just last year at Hargray, internet consumption by customers increased by about 40 percent. The company’s team of experts recognized the need for customers to have more bandwidth and to do it quickly. They started by bringing state-of-the-art fiber-optic technology to Hilton Head Island and then moved quickly to expand. For existing coaxial cable customers, Hargray upgraded and enhanced their fiber-based networks to offer the faster service in Bluffton and Pritchardville. For residential customers, the new gigabit service means increased speeds, like loading a high-definition movie in less than a minute. There are commercial applications as well. As a result of Hargray’s investment, the infrastructure is in place for businesses to invest in the area. These services are important to investors as they look at locations for future commercial growth. “We do business in the Lowcountry and we’d like everyone to also do business in the Lowcountry, quite frankly.”

Fiber optics offers not only the fastest delivery of high-speed internet, it has the added benefit of being reliable. During weather events such as Hurricane Matthew, having a waterproof fiber-based network minimizes outages. Fiber optics can also carry a signal over greater distances. As a local company, Hargray takes its mission of bringing dependable services to rural areas to heart, making sure that access to emergency calling has the least chance of being disrupted and internet speeds stay above the national norms.

“There aren’t many small towns you can get this in. When you look at the community that we are in, this is a small community. It’s not New York City, Chicago or Atlanta,” Dobbins said, referring to areas that typically host this type of internet service.

Around 95 percent of Hargray’s customers are above national norms in terms of internet speeds, and this benefits the community in opportunity, education and emergency services.

As a local provider, Hargray employs more than 450 residents who live and work in the Lowcountry. Having experts in the local area makes the response to customer service logical and fast. As a bonus, customers choosing Hargray can be sure that their money stays in the local economy. That seems to be one of the best aspects of Dobbin’s executive position at Hargray: “No other provider can give you that, and I think that is special.” 

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1 2017 data according to Global Internet Phenomena Report Spotlight (Sandvine); 2020 predicition according to the Client Computing Group (Intel). 2 According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

3 According to www.shopmorelocal.org.