Ting is an MVNO that offers low rates for mobile plans and uses Sprint's network coverage for its customers. Today the company announced its expansion into the ISP market by announcing plans to provide gigabit-speed Internet in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In order to provide the service, the company bought a majority share (70 percent) in Blue Ridge InternetWorks, an independent Internet service provider based in Charlottesville. With this partnership, Blue Ridge got the technical and financial support needed to start the project. Customers in Charlottesville can expect gigabit service in the first half of 2015, which is a considerably faster rollout than Google Fiber in Austin. Google announced Fiber for Austin in April 2013, but didn't begin the physical construction of the network until Sept. 2014. Sign-ups for Fiber didn't start until early this month.
According to Blue Ridge's announcement about the partnership with Ting, the company will have pricing plans for gigabit Internet with rates under $100, with a budget-oriented plan that could even be lower than the initial offering. Additionally, Blue Ridge will honor prices and certain package plans for a limited time for customers who upgrade to Ting Internet. Aside from that, Blue Ridge's service will not change at all. However, the company also has plans to provide a television package in 2015 as well -- which is just what Google is doing with its Google Fiber service.
Ting's venture is the latest in a string of businesses in small cities and towns that is providing gigabit-speed Internet service to residents and businesses. EPB provides gigabit Internet speeds in Chattanooga, Tennessee; LUS Fiber is in Lafayette, Louisiana; and CenturyLink in Omaha, Nebraska.
Of course, Google is also on the verge of providing gigabit-speed Internet to Kansas City; Provo, Utah; and Austin, Texas. But while Google is slowly implementing Fiber to its cities, companies like Ting, EPB and LUS Fiber are speeding up the process so that customers will only have to wait a few months for faster Internet speeds.
UPDATE (12/18, 1:15pm PT): We reached out to Elliot Noss, the president and CEO of Tucows, Ting's parent company, for additional comments.
In regard to rolling out gigabit Internet, Noss said that the service is closer to launching in the first quarter of 2015, and as of the announcement yesterday, hundreds of people in the area have already signed up for more information about it.
The reason for the short setup and launch is because Blue Ridge InternetWorks already has a fiber network in place, and most homes in the area aren't too far from the existing network. Prior to Ting's purchase of the company, Blue Ridge was already offering Internet fiber service in three different tiers. The highest offering for a basic Internet fiber package was $499.95 for 100 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload.