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Hargray’s Lowcountry Broadband Initiative celebrates first year

HARGRAY COMMUNICATIONS RECENTLY CELEBRATED THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF ITS LOWCOUNTRY BROADBAND PLAN AT AN EVENT AT ITS HEADQUARTERS ON HILTON HEAD ISLAND.

Government and community leaders from Hilton Head, Bluffton and Beaufort were among those in attendance to acknowledge the growth of Hargray’s fiber-fueled network over the past year.

In the past year, Hargray has installed more than 100 miles of fiber-optic cable —enough to wrap around Hilton Head Island 10 times — and made significant upgrades to its network. Eight communities have already taken advantage of the new infrastructure: Brays Island Plantation, Belfair, Haig Point, Hilton Head Plantation, Mill Creek Plantation, Palmetto Dunes, Sea Pines and Sun City Hilton Head. Hargray is in active dialogue with and expects to add several other communities to this list.

“What Hargray is doing is helping our region stay ahead of the times when it comes to internet capabilities,” Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka said. “Their fiber infrastructure and investment in our communities gives people another reason to live, work and play here. Whether residents or tourists to the region, people expect to be able to connect to the internet, and we’re glad a local company is capable of providing that.”

Sulka was one of five people who spoke at the event, along with Chris McCorkendale, senior vice president of sales and business development at Hargray; Greg DeLoach, assistant town manager of Hilton Head Island; Jim Collett, chairman of the Hilton Head Technology Task Force; and Michael Gottdenker, chairman and CEO of Hargray. Speakers outlined the progress of the Lowcountry Broadband Plan to date and gave a preview of improvements that are set to come in the near future.

“While we’re very proud of how far we’ve come, it’s even more exciting to think of where we’re going,” Gottdenker said. “Our continued investment in the Lowcountry Broadband Plan positions us to deliver world-class internet speeds and a premium television experience with the capacity to grow and match demand over time. These investments mean that all of the communities we serve — from Hilton Head, Bluffton and Beaufort to Savannah, Hinesville, Statesboro and Lake Oconee — will have access to the same or better world-class communications services that are available in the most major metropolitan markets on the planet.”

Gottdenker also acknowledged that the investments come with more than just a financial cost to Hargray: “This has necessitated digging up streets and yards and — try as we have to minimize disruption and inconvenience — we have accidentally cut water and sewer pipes, electric lines, underground sprinkler systems and dog fences, as well as our and our competitors’ communications networks.”

Gottdenker also spoke about temporary service interruptions or degradation resulting from upgrades to Hargray’s internal network, and thanked Hargray’s customers, neighbors and colleagues for their patience as the company works through the upgrades.