“It’s a huge start,” Brian Bolling, the utility’s chief financial officer, told BrightRidge’s board of directors at its monthly meeting.
He said 23.6 percent of the year’s budget has been spent for the broadband service, which means the utility hasn’t seen “the bulk of the capital spent yet.”
Most of those capital costs will be in expanding fiber optics, which includes recent work in Jonesborough and projects upcoming in downtown Johnson City and several business parks.
Bolling said BrightRidge’s financial report for broadband next month will include a new category — revenues.
“When we looked at this business plan we knew how this build out would go,” he said. “You build the infrastructure and you gain customers. Things are going as expected.”
Bolling told board members it was now time for the utility to clear the next hurdles in its eight-year plan. He said that included signing up customers for the broadband service via fiber and wireless technology.
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.
Stacy Evans, BrightRidge’s chief operating officer, said the utility will begin Beta testing for customers in Jonesborough next week. He said many of those customers began signing on for service on Feb. 8.
He said the utility has already identified 105 residential and 50 businesses in the downtown Jonesborough area.
Evans said work will will begin in the downtown Johnson City area in early March to install fiber optics that could reach as many as 8,079 residential customers and 373 businesses.
“There’s a lot of excitement out there,” he said. “We have a growing list of customers who want to be among the first to get broadband service.”