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09/07/18

BrightRidge clears final regulatory hurdle to officially establish new Broadband Division

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For immediate release Sept. 7, 2018

JOHNSON CITY -- BrightRidge has officially established a Broadband Division having cleared the final regulatory hurdle with the Johnson City Commission’s unanimous approval Thursday night.
“This is a journey that began long before my arrival here at BrightRidge,” CEO Jeff Dykes said. “Several different boards have considered this step and we have collectively built a conservative business plan to establish a broadband division deploying both fiber to the premise and wireless. Our hybrid approach brings high-speed internet to rural areas as well as urban, offering true marketplace competition while diversifying electric division revenue beyond electric rates alone.”
Broadband reduces electric rate pressure as new electric division revenue is generated by broadband interest payments, facilities leases and shared personnel. By FY 2030, the broadband division will generate an estimated $41 million in revenue for the electric division.
“We know our biggest challenge is managing expectations, folks wanting the service quicker than we can provide it,” Dykes said. “But an eight-year phased approach is the right way to go. This allows the new Broadband Division to generate some of its own capital. It allows the Board to carefully monitor implementation. And it allows us to adapt evolving technology, as we have already done by adopting a cellular LTE-type technology to deliver our wireless service.”
Each division must operate autonomously, and electric service cannot be discontinued for non- payment of a cable services bill. Fiber customers can expect speeds up to 10 Gbps. Wireless customers can expect speeds up to 75 Mbps.
“We anticipate offering our very first customers service by the end of the year on the wireless side,” Dykes said. “Fiber customers should start in noticeable volume early next year. We do ask for patience on the part of our customers as it will take time to implement service.”
At the end of 8 years, coverage will be available to 75 percent of the BrightRidge service population, including customers living in Johnson City, Jonesborough, Washington County, Colonial Heights, Piney Flats, and western Carter County.
For more information on anticipated roll out phases, please visit www.BrightRidge.com.
BrightRidge is the 10th largest public power provider in the Tennessee Valley Authority system, and serves more than 78,000 customers in Washington, Sullivan, Carter and Greene counties.

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