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04/12/19

WiFi to Downtown Johnson City

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The Appalachian Regional Commission announced today approval of a grant in the amount of $27,500 to the Johnson City Development Authority (JCDA) for the Downtown Johnson City Free WiFi Program.  Additional funds for the two-year project are provided from the JCDA with in-kind support from BrightRidge Broadband.          

This grant will help provide free public Wi-Fi in a 5-block area of the historic downtown and nearby green spaces. The project will consist of four sections, which include Founder's Park, the Pavilion at Founders, King Commons, and the historic downtown business district.

“The partnership between BrightRidge, ARC and Johnson City Development Authority, is a great example of the role that organizations can play in connecting people,” said Robert Williams, JCDA Chair. “We are excited to partner with BrightRidge in order to offer free WiFi in our downtown parks and along Main Street and ensure that next generation connectivity is accessible to everyone visiting us.”

“The addition of free WiFi will benefit our visitors and citizens as they enjoy spending time in downtown. We anticipate that it will encourage customers to stay downtown longer, because they can use their tablets and laptops via WiFi” said Dianna Cantler, Director of Downtown Development for the JCDA. “I anticipate students having study groups in our greenspaces and the addition of 1G capability will be an asset to those who come downtown for a meeting in one of our coffeeshops or restaurants.”

“BrightRidge was created in 1945 to power the growth of our region,” BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes said. “In furthering that mission, BrightRidge believes reliable, affordable and redundant high-speed internet access is an equally essential utility for a thriving 21st century economy. We are pleased to partner with JCDA in this project to enhance our region’s attractiveness as a destination.”

“This project demonstrates the opportunities that a publicly owned non-profit can bring to the table,” BrightRidge Chief Broadband Officer Stacy Evans said. “BrightRidge is excited to offer the region’s only 10 gigabit symmetrical service to our business and residential customers, backed by top tier local service and support that only BrightRidge can provide.”

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia and help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. More information is available at www.arc.gov. The ARC-supported Wi-Fi projects advance the goals of Tennessee’s State Broadband Plan, which guides policies and programs that seek to leverage broadband infrastructure as a catalyst for education, economic development and public-service delivery. 

The mission of the Johnson City Development Authority is to promote and assist with the development and redevelopment of Johnson City, with specific emphasis on downtown, in collaboration with other entities throughout the community; identifying needs and implementing actions. Johnson City is an accredited National Main Street community.

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.