Broadband work nearing the end in Jonesborough

Robert Houk • Jan 23, 2019 at 12:00 AM

BrightRidge crews are nearing completion of work to the utility’s broadband infrastructure in downtown Jonesborough.

Stacy Evans, BrightRidge’s chief broadband officer, said Tuesday improvements to underground fiber optics along Main Street should be wrapped up by the end of this week. He said some damaged conduit in the downtown had to be replaced, which has delayed the project.

Evans said crews will next focus on a 1.5-mile span of aerial work in the Jonesborough area. Fixed wireless customers will be among the first to receive BrightRidge broadband services.

The BrightRidge board members agreed Tuesday to spend $99,000 for fixed wireless tower installation services.

BrightRidge, which launched its broadband division in September, has a $7.3 million capital budget that is now concentrating on building the infrastructure it will need to provide broadband internet via fiber and wireless technology as part of an eight-year plan.

With speeds of up to 10 gigabits, BrightRidge will reach 32,000 potential customers during the first three years of the plan. At least 8,500 customers will have access during the first phase.

In other business Tuesday, a Tennessee Valley Authority official told BrightRidge board members the federal utility enjoyed a “very good year” in 2018.  Chris Quillen, TVA’s customer service, said the utility ended its last fiscal year “in a favorable” financial position.

He said weather conditions helped TVA end its budget year $711 million ahead of its projected operating revenues. Quillen said TVA has also made good on its promises to keep the utility’s debt under control.

At the same time, Quillen said TVA improved on its rate competitiveness — moving from a rank of having the 9th lowest residential power rate in the nation to the 6th position.

Quillen said TVA has also made improvements in 2018 to modernize its hydro-electric operations at Watauga and South Holston dams. He said improving the turbine technology at those two facilities has allowed TVA to “run those units longer.”

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