We may all be getting ready to "Marry Durham" come March, but Google hasn't even shown a willingness to return our phone calls after that initial flirtation they made with municipalities nationwide for their fiber-optic program. (Or, for that matter, anyone's calls -- there's no sign that the Big G has picked any community for a residential gigabit network.)
Instead, we've been stuck in a relationship with Time Warner Cable that's been pretty monogamous, though some Durhamites have tried to stray with mixed success.
Clear Wireless' 4G network makes passes at folks' mailboxes with come-ons for home and mobile broadband, but as we saw in last year's BCR tests (and in discussions on listservs), the network seemed to, er, have trouble performing. Meanwhile, the old DSL service from Verizon is now sold by Frontier, but many neighborhoods are limited by the locations of central offices and have challenges getting the network to run as fast as was promised back during the wooing.
And that's to say nothing of AT&T's U-Verse service, which has shown no interest in expanding beyond the company's old BellSouth footprint -- something that doesn't include the Bull City.
Now comes news, though, that our longstanding partner, Time Warner, is investing in so-called wideband service in Durham and the region this spring.
Its technical name is DOCSIS 3.0. It comes at speeds of up to 50 megabits down, 5 megabits up, enough to handle much more in the way of bits and bytes than today's network, which can at times hit just a fifth of those speeds.
But it's not likely to come cheap.
In Charlotte, word is that the high-end speeds go for -- wait for it -- $100 per month.
No, that doesn't come with ESPN or Food Network. That's just plain Internet, albeit fast Internet.
Or maybe you've been watching Time Warner and have seen all those odd commercials for the company's "Signature Service," featuring stylishly dressed middle-aged folks talking about how wonderful their whole-house DVR service and fast Internet is.
They don't name a price, a bad sign, but word is those packages can run up to nearly $200 a month.
Of course, it could be that TWC brings lower pricing here to Durham.
In fact, it'll be really interesting to compare pricing in the Bull City to Wilson, which is getting wideband service in the coming months along with the Triangle.
Why Wilson? Well, we'd assume that's because Wilson's civic leaders ended up implementing a fiber-optic network providing even faster speeds directly to homes, in direct competition with the cable company.
Still, it'll be nice to have faster broadband here in Durham -- even if we won't get near gigabit speeds, or competitive pricing, as long as they're the only real high-speed game in town.