Medina’s new internet service might be the nation’s fastest

Medina’s about to enter the fast lane.

At an event Friday, Nov. 12, the city’s largest cable TV/internet provider, Armstrong, is unveiling a new broadband system for the city — and says it is likely the fastest in the country.

“It’s going to be one of the very first places not only in the country but really in the world that’s going to have 10-gigabyte connectivity,” said Armstrong marketing vice president Dave Wittmannn. “It’s going to open up an incredible realm of opportunities for the local business and residential communities.”

Wittmann said Armstrong has completed upgrades that enable it to deliver speeds of 10 GB per second — and not just for downloads, but uploads, too, he added.

How fast is that? Disney says a typical feature film takes up 1 to 2 gigabytes of file space in standard definition, and about 3 to 4 gigabytes in high definition. So Armstrong’s new network could download a standard-definition film in about a tenth of a second, maybe two-tenths, and would take only four-tenths of a second to download a longer film in high definition.

Put another way: Medina would have internet service that’s nearly eight times faster than anything now widely available to consumers in the U.S. According to the website HighSpeedinternet.com, the cities with the fastest internet in the country as of May were Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, where speeds were 129.1 megabytes per second (Mbps) and 127.4 Mbps, respectively.

Few if any residential customers, or even business customers, may need such speeds today — but they will, Wittmann maintains. Things like holograms, 8K video and other high-data technologies are on the near horizon, he said, and they’ll all require faster internet than is commonly available today.

“There are 8K cameras that are shooting things today. Look how fast 4K came along — pretty much every TV you buy today is 4K-capable,” Wittmann said. “That’s where the world is going, and it’s just going to go beyond that. It’s just inevitable.”

Add to such developments the advent of the Internet of Things, cars that connect to WiFi as soon as they enter the garage, and other demands on data not yet invented, and it’s obvious that internet speeds will need to increase, Wittmann said. Without improved service, not only will residential customers not be able to access the newest services, but many businesses will be at a competitive disadvantage, he added.

“If you don’t continually invest and innovate, you’re not going to be able to meet the consumers’ and certainly the business folks’ needs with your network,” Wittmann said, noting that the Medina upgrade is the first Armstrong is making as it begins to spend $200 million to increase its broadband speeds across the six states where it operates.

The 10 GB service is now available to business customers in Medina, and Armstrong also is rolling out a cheaper symmetrical 3GB service for residential customers, Wittmann said.

The Medina system is being shown off to invited guests at an event that includes executives and technology experts from local hospitals, universities and others, with demonstrations showing how much faster 10 GB is than the typical 1GB system now in place across much of the region.

Those demonstrations were to include some Fortnite battles with area gamers, who require fast connections to play the game and other multiplayer offerings online.

“Gamers require the fastest, most reliable network connections possible these days” said Alec Mueller, head esports coach at Ashland University, in a release provided by Armstrong. “The gaming community will continue its explosive growth for the foreseeable future,” predicted Mueller, who was set to take some of his team members to the Medina event.

For the city, having the fastest internet is likely to be a marketing tool for attracting residents and also for economic development.

“The city of Medina is thankful and appreciative of Armstrong’s recent investment in our community to provide a 10g internet Network,” Mayor Dennis Hanwell said via email. “These speeds will be very beneficial to market new industries, businesses and professional services with a demand for very high speeds. This upgrade, coupled with our outstanding customer service model, will make locating in Medina a great choice for all.”

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