Dallas' Deep Ellum neighborhood gets world-class Internet



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Posted on May 27, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 28 at 10:29 AM

DALLAS — Sex... drugs... rock and roll. That’s how people used to think about the Deep Ellum neighborhood just east of downtown Dallas.

But soon this gritty part of the city may exchange its reputation for fast-living to super-fast Internet as a new million-dollar project called Ellum.net nears completion.

"If the Internet were to go down around here, you would see the 60 to 70 people that are here currently clear out very quickly," said Nick Clark, owner of Common Desk, a co-working hub for creative and independent entrepreneurs.

Internet connectivity is so important to Clark that he’s one of the business owners in Deep Ellum who urged the nearby data center — Opus 3 — to string blazing-fast, fiber optic Internet cables throughout the neighborhood.

“That’s how the whole thing started,” said David Herr, Opus 3’s chief operating officer.

Ellum.Net will provide Internet speeds of one gigabyte per second, which is 100 times faster than what is commonly available to businesses and residents.

For example, imagine you’re a graphic artist sending your client a huge file.

“Do that on a slower speed connection, that file’s going to take 20 to 30 minutes to run," Herr explained. "On a fiber connection, it’s 3, 4, 5 seconds... that file is gone."

Herr hopes that the huge bandwidth of Ellum.Net continues to set Deep Ellum apart as a destination for Dallas’ creative class.

Back at Common Desk, they’re already chalking up the win for their eclectic neighborhood.

“It attracts creative companies and creative companies want high speed Internet," Clark said. "I think it’s one of the missing puzzle pieces to complete this neighborhood."

And it will continue Deep Ellum’s transformation from a place you visit at night, to a place where you can also work during the day.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com