Pavlov Media built its success in university towns wiring off-campus apartments for Internet access and has begun marketing ultrafast 10 gigabits per second (10 Gbps) broadband in Statesboro. The company plans to invest about $500,000 installing a four-mile ring of fiber optic cable by summer 2014.
A 10 Gbps download speed is 400 times that of the fastest regular residential service available from the major local providers. However, it won't be available to everyone in Statesboro anytime soon.
Nor will every resident of every Pavlov Media-served complex necessarily receive 10 Gbps downloads. The company offers a range of services to apartment owners and businesses. But even the slower options, 1 Gbps and 2 Gbps, are still much faster than the 24 megabits per second (Mbps) fastest regular residential download speed of established local providers. For comparison, 1 Gbps = 1,000 Mbps, so 10 Gbps = 10,000 Mbps.
For those whose buildings do get the top-of-the-line service, not everything on the Internet arrives at a 10 Gig rate, either. However, Pavlov Media's trademarked Tesseractiv network will deliver the majority of the Internet's content at the maximum speed for each property, said John Crutcher, Pavlov Media vice president of sales.
Crutcher and VP of marketing Christopher Hunt state confidently that Pavlov Media's services are unlike anything seen before in Statesboro.
"We do not believe there's anything else quite like it in your area and - if I may, I don't mean to be immodest, but - not much else like it in the United States," Hunt said.
Mark Scifres - it's pronounced "Cyphers" - started the company in 1992 while an engineering student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He and a few other engineering students began wiring off-campus houses for something that was new then, data access.
Still headquartered in Champaign with Scifres as its CEO, Pavlov Media has grown to serve 140 markets in 38 states. The company now has collocation hubs in New York, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Tallahassee, Dallas, Phoenix, Chicago, Champaign and Atlanta. One is being developed in Los Angeles.
"We primarily focus on student housing, but we also do some business-to-business services as well," Crutcher said.
In early 2012, the company introduced its Tesseractiv content delivery network, enabling the move into multi-gigabit speeds. Still more recently, Pavlov Media completed an upgrade of its Atlanta hub, allowing the rollout of Tesseractiv service to Statesboro and other Georgia cities.
"What Tesseractiv is, in a nutshell, is a combination of capturing the most popular content that users use and pre-downloading it into our system so we're actually hosting a lot of the content that is popular; and also it's peering relationships," Crutcher explained.
In other words, Pavlov Media pre-hosts popular content so that it does not have to be located on the Internet at-large before being downloaded. This reduces latency, also known as ping time, the delay between a device's request and receipt of data.
Speed is especially desirable for video streaming and online game playing, popular pursuits among college students. Netflix videos alone comprise about 50 percent of Pavlov Media's web traffic, Crutcher said.
The company is able to capture 50-75 percent of total Internet traffic into its system for downloading at the highest speed, he said. Less popular content is not pre-hosted but arrives at speed chosen for each property. He cited 100 Mbps and 50 Mbps as examples.
Another Pavlov Media innovation, called WebSnap, allows a user a two-second burst of the circuit's full available speed for downloading ordinary web pages.
Pavlov Media also offers managed service for owners of multiunit housing. This service focuses on maintaining the fastest available speed to all residents, preventing individual end-users from doing things that harm the service for everyone and protecting against viruses and similar threats.
The planned fiber optic loop will be installed in an area of concentrated off-campus student housing, including portions of Lanier Drive and U.S. 301 South. Pavlov Media is looking at winter and spring build times to have the system running by the summer 2014 leasing season.
The company has hopes, but no immediate plans, for further expansion in Statesboro.
The local providers checked for the fastest available residential download speeds are Frontier Communications, Northland Communications and Bulloch Telephone.
Bulloch Telephone, which serves mainly rural areas outside Statesboro, offers a regular residential service with a 15 Mbps download speed, a customer service rep confirmed. Both Frontier and Northland, which serve customers inside Statesboro and beyond, offer regular residential customers download rates up to 24 Mbps, but spokespersons for both companies noted that they can provide individual customers - this is mainly focused on business customers - virtually any speed.
"Depending on needs, customers can select the speed that meets their business requirements, from 10 Mbps to 1000 Mbps and beyond," said Northland Communications Vice President H. Lee Johnson.
Johnson's emailed response also mentioned that Northland maintains a 50-mile fiber optic system in the area and plans to double the 24 Mbps residential speed in the near future. The 24 Mbps rate, his statement said, is enough to ensure "significant bandwidth to simultaneously serve all" members of a household.
Karen Miller, a Frontier Communications media spokesperson for 12 states in the company's 27-state range, noted that, as an incumbent local exchange carrier, Frontier has different responsibilities than a company like Pavlov Media.
As an ILEC, Frontier is required to provide phone service to every customer in its market areas and does not "have the luxury of handpicking which customers we want to serve," Miller said. The company, she added, serves many rural communities and is focused expanding broadband to everyone in its markets.
Frontier can also provide customized service, especially for business customers, but theoretically for residential ones as well.
"In terms of speed, we can provide any level of service that a customer is asking for, depending on what they need," Miller said.