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07/26/18

Public Hearing to Garner Public Input on 10 Gb Broadband Services

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BrightRidge invites all interested persons to attend a public hearing at 6pm today, July 26, 2018 at its 2600 Boones Creek Road office to garner input on a proposed $64 million investment to bring competition to the regional broadband, cable television and phone service marketplace.

“Our electric customers will see perhaps the largest benefit of our entry into the broadband marketplace,” Dykes said. “Broadband will significantly reduce electric rate pressure as new revenue is generated by interest payments, facilities leasing, and shared costs paid by the broadband division to the electric division.”

The proposal is an eight-year phased plan that will offer up to 10 Gbps symmetrical service to commercial and residential customers over fiber optic line in more dense, urban areas and up to 75 Mbps/10Mbps fixed wireless in more rural areas. The fixed wireless offering meets or exceeds most wired line offerings currently in the marketplace.

Under the plan, each individual phase stands on its own as a viable business segment. The first-year expenditure is estimated at $14 million. At the end of 8 years, coverage should be available to 75 percent of the BrightRidge service population, including customers living in Johnson City, Jonesborough, Washington County, Colonial Heights, Piney Flats in Sullivan County, and western Carter County.

“Our business has always been built on providing first-class customer service at affordable rates for our customers,” Dykes said. “And that same model will be applied to the broadband telecommunications division, with local folks from right here in our community serving the community.”

The public hearing is the final step prior to seeking approval from the Johnson City Commission to enter the broadband and cable television business. Assuming approval by the City Commission, service should initiate by the fourth quarter of 2018.

“We will have to ask for patience as we will not be positioned to serve everyone in year one,” BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes said. “By moving forward with a conservative approach, the broadband division builds cash necessary to help construct the buildout. A conservative approach also allows us to adapt to any technological advancements in the marketplace.”

BrightRidge is a non-profit political subdivision of the State of Tennessee serving 78,000 customers in the region. BrightRidge is the 10th largest public power provider in the TVA System.