SmartSign via Flickr

A Shelby-based company is launching their own ultra-high-speed fiber optic project -- even as Google Fiber tests some North Carolina markets for connectivity.  RST Fiber says it has activated a statewide 3,100-mile fiber network.  

This week on-air and online, the tech team is exploring the sharing economy. You'll find the stories on this blog and aggregated at this link, and we would love to hear your questions about the topic. Just email, leave a comment or tweet.

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A federal government report on Internet access ranked North Carolina last in the country for the rate of Internet subscription.  

Only 17 percent of North Carolina households have fixed Internet connections at a speed the FCC deems the "minimum required to engage in modern life."  Rural residents say that they have difficulty getting coverage while providers claim rural North Carolina has adequate service.

Optical fiber used for high speed internet.
Michel Tronchetti

The city of Wilson has finished installing a fiber optic Internet system.  It's the first such project in North Carolina that will provide the city of about 50,000 people with ultra-high speed Internet. 

Optical fiber used for high speed internet.
Michel Tronchetti

The town of Holly Springs is interested in laying a fiber optic network that could lead to super high-speed Internet for local residents and businesses. 

The Town Council voted unanimously to move forward with the project, which would install 16 miles of fiber optic cable in two loops underneath the town.  Joanne Hovis is president of CTC Technology, which the town hired to design the network.  She told the council at a recent meeting the service would start out as a communications system for the town, but lays the groundwork for Internet Service Providers to build commercial and residential connections.

Jud Bowman; CEO of Appia / Twitter

In the late '90s the Internet was king and everybody wanted a piece of it. Jud Bowman was a student at the North Carolina School of Science and Math when he had an idea for an Internet start up. It was called Motricity, and he managed to get investors onboard before things went south in the Internet market.

Marc Hoit

A consortium of universities and municipalities are working to bring ultrafast Internet access to central North Carolina.  North Carolina State, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Duke will submit a request for proposals Friday to Internet providers.

Researchers from NC State and UNC Chapel Hill are working on an improved blueprint for the Internet. The project is part of the National Science Foundation’s effort on “Future Internet Architecture.”  The team in North Carolina is focused on making more choices available to end-users. Ilia Baldine is a senior researcher at UNC.

 State lawmakers have passed a measure that would make it harder for cities and towns to build their own Internet broadband systems. 

 The controversial bill passed the Senate earlier this week and returned yesterday to the House for concurrence. Supporters say it's not fair that municipalities don't have to follow the same regulations that commercial providers do. But a few Democratic lawmakers still fired whatever shots they could at the measure. Democrat Bill Faison represents Caswell and Orange counties.