Education. Jobs. Healthcare.
Tennessee has a problem. Millions of people across our state
face severe economic and educational disadvantages because they have little or no access to modern fiber optic infrastructure (and in many cases little or no broadband Internet access at all).
In all but a handful of our communities, fiber-to-the-home or even fiber-to-small business networks are not available. And, because nothing is faster than the speed of light, fiber optic systems are making old-fashioned telecom and cable networks increasingly obsolete.
Access to fiber optic networks will determine who wins and loses in coming years.
Why Local Control Matters
What if your community didn’t have paved roads? All of the in-town streets were one-lane dirt paths, and the more rural areas only had beaten trails. Would you want state regulations to limit your options for improving your community’s roadways?
That’s the situation Tennesseans face when it comes to
fiber optic infrastructure. Copper lines were state-of-the-art for telecommunications during the Civil War. Cellular and satellite data rates are slower still and even more expensive to consumers.
And yet, big telecom and cable, which are authorized to expand, refuse to deploy fiber to all but a handful of Tennesseans—and those are mostly people who already have another fiber optic option.
In contrast, seven of Tennessee’s municipal utilities have successfully deployed community-wide fiber optic networks, but state law prohibits them from expanding beyond their current service area—even though local leaders in other communities are inviting them to expand to serve their citizens.
In today’s world, the Internet is as important as good roads to your community’s ability to attract industry, support existing business growth, educate your young people, retrain your adults for emerging job opportunities, and increasingly for healthcare delivery.
Fiber optic networks provide key competitive advantages for addressing all of these community challenges—some of the toughest we face as Tennesseans.
Is it right to let outsiders decide which Tennessee communities will remain competitive?