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BrightRidge cuts ribbon on 10 GB internet service

W. Kenneth Medley II • May 10, 2019 at 11:42 PM

Jonesborough dignitaries and BrightRidge executives were on the steps of Main Street Café on Thursday for a ribbon cutting of the power company’s 10 gigabit Fiber Optic internet service going live.

Main Street Café is the first business to receive the service, making it the ideal place for the ribbon-cutting event. Jeff Dykes, president and CEO of BrightRidge, was present and thanked Zach Jenkins, owner of Main Street Café.

“When we were approached by BrightRidge to be the first test run for the internet service,” Jenkins said, “We were tickled to death to do it and thrilled that this little town is getting the fastest internet in the world.”

Jenkins is not wrong. Fiber internet with 10 GB symmetrical download/upload speeds is the current fastest speed available. Jonesborough is joining a small portion of communities in the nation to benefit from fiber internet service. There are a smaller handful of communities that receive 10 GB service, according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

Chattanooga was one of the first cities in the nation to offer 10 GB service, and Salisbury, North Carolina, was the first. Both cities’ websites boast of tangible gains from implementation of the high-speed internet in the form of job creation and revenue.

“When we rolled out 10 Gig we were the first city or first company to roll out 10 Gigs as their first products,” Dykes said. “There are only six other cities that we know of that have 10 Gig service across the United States.”

The event Thursday was a celebration of Phase I of the project. A similar ceremony will be held sometime in July in Johnson City when the 10 GB service goes live in downtown and the “Tree Streets” area. That will be Phase I for Johnson City, according to Dykes.

BrightRidge’s plan includes a $64 million investment and eight-year plan to bring competition to the broadband, cable television and phone services in the region. Jonesborough is joining Chattanooga; Salisbury, N.C.; Detroit; Minneapolis; and the region of southern Vermont, according to a statement released by BrightRidge.

“The big impact is going to be able to work at your home,” said Dykes. “It used to be that you just brought data in, now you are wanting to push large amounts of data out. When you are working from home whether it be from the medical side, engineering or digital media and you want to push (data) to your customer, you are going to now have speed that is symmetrical and you are going to be able to push that data out.”

Dykes’ foresees the economy and jobs trends shifting to more people needing high-speed, high-data internet capabilities. He says this new service will fulfill that need. There is also a hope that business looking for a home that needs the ultra-high speed internet will be attracted to settle in the region.

That hope is not just wishful thinking. Other cities in the nation have reported economic gains, including over 4,000 jobs created in two cities alone. Dykes also said 10 GB service will help with education.

“Out in the more rural areas we have the wireless deployment that is going on,” Dykes said. “We have an opportunity to wirelessly bring some higher speeds to them so the kids can study and do part of their homework from home.”

Whether customers want 10 GB, 1 GB or 200 MB, the speed is symmetrical, which is the major advantage over current offerings, according to Dykes. This means that whether you are downloading or uploading the speed is the same. Imagine a 7 GB, 4K movie downloading in seven seconds.

The fiber network has been made possible through compliance with state regulations and a partnership with Calix, a company from San Jose, California. The network will be operating off of Calix’s AXOS platform and using their 840Mesh satellites, which according to Calix’s website will increase the range of a home’s Wi-Fi network.

The ceremony in Jonesborough ended with a ribbon being cut by Jenkins. The town leadership and BrightRidge executives flanked him on both sides. With a quick snip of golden scissors, the day’s event was concluded.

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