WAKE FOREST, NC – An initiative that was expected to earn Wake Forest the distinction as one of the Triangle’s first gigabit communities has been put on hold. Town officials say that RST Fiber, the Shelby-based company that provided gigabit-speed Internet service to Wake Forest, is no longer an option following long delays in meeting commitments and news that RST is in business trouble.
RST began installing a high speed fiber network at strategic points around Wake Forest in April 2014. The company said it planned to provide gigabit Internet service (1,000 megabytes per second) to Wake Forest homes and businesses as early as August or September that year.
RST even announced a pricing structure and pre-signed more than 2,500 Wake Forest residents up for the service. Then the RST kept pushing the date for starting service back.
In early fall, the company did successfully install a conduit from downtown Wake Forest to Raleigh, the backbone of the fiber installation, and town officials took that as a good sign.
Then, a four-month delay in getting Corps of Engineers permission to cross the Neuse River on Old Falls of Neuse Road led RST to pull its crews from Wake Forest and send them to Charlotte. RST said it expected to complete its work in Charlotte by early December and then return to Wake Forest.
But they never came back.
Seeking new provider
In late 2014 RST said it was postponing the work in Wake Forest in hopes of securing new financial backing.
This year, following what town officials say were futile attempts to get answers from RST, they began reaching out to other potential service providers.
In June, the Shelby Star newspaper reported that RST had experienced outages in Shelby lasting up to four days, no one is answering phones at RST’s headquarters, and its office staff had been fired. It also revealed the company was involved in a lawsuit with one of its founders.
So, frustrated Wake Forest officials say they have closed the door on the relationship with RST.
“We are extremely disappointed that RST will be unable to fulfill its promise of delivering gigabit-speed Internet service to our residents,” said Deputy Town Manager Roe O’Donnell. “Still, we are keeping our options open and are continuing to work with other potential service providers.”
O’Donnell added that the fiber network already laid by RST is extremely valuable and will likely be an attractive incentive to other high-speed internet providers considering Wake Forest.