From STAFF REPORTS
Building off fiber construction to previously unserved rural areas just completed through a $2.4 million Tennessee Emergency Broadband grant, BrightRidge has authorized a locally funded broadband expansion to bring service to another 1,051 customer locations throughout Washington County.
Newly installed fiber trunk lines used to service the grant areas provides the opportunity to service another 1,051 locations, many of which have limited internet options.
“Certainly, among the many lessons learned during this pandemic, affordable high-speed broadband is a critical economic and educational lifeline,” BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes said. “Our Broadband Division estimates the cost of serving these locations will come to about $149,500. This compares very favorably to our typical average cost per location passed.”
In addition, customer response to the new service has been overwhelming. Although construction was just completed in December, take rates for the new services provided under the state grant have soared past 73 percent in the grant areas.
“These strong take rates underscore the vital importance of our broadband services,” Dykes said. “We were please to bring for Board consideration what amounts to a very economical solution building off the successful deployment under the State of Tennessee’s Emergency Broadband Grant.”
After Tuesday approval by the BrightRidge Board of Directors, these new locations were added to the ongoing Phase 3 broadband buildout scheduled for completion by July 1, 2021.
New locations added to Phase 3 include areas south of Bowmantown and southeast of Pleasant Valley.
Also added to Phase 3 are neighborhoods near Midway School, Ridgeview School, South Central School, Westview School, and Asbury School.
Also serviced will be areas near the Oak Glen Community Center, near Telford Ruritan, and near Leesburg Ruritan.
“BrightRidge Broadband is a nationally leading broadband provider offering services up to 10 Gbps symmetrical,” Dykes said. “These service speeds are only matched in a half dozen communities in the United States, and BrightRidge is likely the only to offer it to every customer addressable over fiber.
“At the same time, we also offer lower than market pricing with no service contracts, no data caps and local customer service.”