Tennessee Broadband Expansion Bill on Hold for Now

FiberOpt--2-_16154(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), April 1, 2015Advocates for broadband expansion in Tennessee announced that efforts to extend community-based fiber optic networks are being placed on hold for now because there is not enough support among state lawmakers to change a state regulation that prevents the expansion of municipal fiber optic systems.  According to Tennessee State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma), who sponsored legislation that would allow municipal utilities to provide fiber optic services beyond their current service area, she put the measure on hold.  She trusts this will make it easier to continue the process next legislative session.

“Thanks to a growing number of Tennesseans, who are contacting their representatives to communicate their critical need for broadband services, we made more progress this legislative session than ever before,” Senator Bowling said. “Next year, I hope the needs of the hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans with little or no broadband service will prevail. The vested interests of the legacy carriers who refuse to serve them while lobbying to prevent community-based providers from meeting the needs of the people in our state must be more clearly confirmed.” 

Senator Bowling also emphasized the need for concerned citizens to get involved. “I invite every Tennessean who is passionate about broadband to make your views known to your state representatives,” Senator Bowling said. “If your educational opportunities, your job prospects, your business, your access to telemedicine, your ability to buy or sell real estate or other basic needs are impaired, lawmakers in Nashville need to hear from you. Access to high speed broad band is to the 21st Century, what access to electricity was to the 20th Century. It is essential.” 

In addition, Senator Bowling said removing Tennessee’s territorial restrictions reinforces free-market competition. “Currently, most Tennesseans have no choice when it comes to broadband,” said Senator Bowling. “The lucky ones have one broadband provider and many have no choice for broadband services at all. The Tennessee Fiber Optic Communities are proving competition is good both for customers and the competitive businesses themselves. I want to see that kind of competition spread across the state.” 

Harold DePriest, president and CEO of EPB and chair of the Tennessee Fiber Optic Communities, pointed to the value of giving local elected leaders the freedom and responsibility to make infrastructure decisions for the betterment of the communities they serve. “State officials would never tell city or county leaders that they couldn’t build roads for local residents and businesses,” DePriest said. “In the 21st Century, broadband infrastructure is just as critical as good roadways to the economic development and quality of life of a community. Allowing investor-driven entities headquartered in other states to pick which Tennessee communities win and which lose when it comes to this critical infrastructure undermines the fundamental principle of local control.”

Those interested in learning more about how to support broadband expansion in Tennessee are encouraged to call (423) 648-1372 or email your name, address, and email to CustomerCare@epb.net and ask to be added to the Broadband Expansion information list.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

Check Also

State Senator Ken Yager Weekly Legislative Update

The thirteenth week of the second session of the 113th General Assembly is now complete. …

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.