Rep. Campbell applauds broadband expansion to over 1,200 homes in area

Published 3:54 pm Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Locally, Charter Spectrum is expanding broadband access to over 1,200 homes in Johnson and Carter counties.
Charter Communications announced that this includes a $1.5 million investment in Carter County to reach 634 homes and a $1 million investment in Johnson County that will be reaching 641 homes.
“This is good for the people here in Johnson and Carter. I’m thankful more folks here will have the option of broadband access and there is more to be done but this is a very good start,” said Representative Scotty Campbell, Republican of Mountain City.
Nationally, Charter Communications announced the launch of a multiyear, multibillion-dollar broadband buildout initiative to deliver gigabit high-speed broadband access to more than 1 million unserved customer locations, as estimated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and awarded to Charter in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction. This expands Charter’s network to lower-density, mostly rural communities that do not have access to broadband service of at least 25/3 Mbps. In Tennessee, that includes $92 million in RDOF funds to expand service to over 79,000 locations across Tennessee.
“The pandemic has further highlighted the need for broadband availability and adoption and Charter is committed to furthering its efforts as part of the comprehensive solution needed to address these challenges,” said Tom Rutledge, Chairman and CEO of Charter Communications. “As Americans across the country increasingly rely on broadband to work, learn, access healthcare and stay in touch with family and loved ones, bringing broadband access to more unserved areas should be a priority for all stakeholders. Charter’s new multibillion-dollar buildout initiative further highlights the importance of the sophisticated broadband networks that the U.S. cable industry has built over several decades, and the industry’s commitment to the local communities it serves. As we continue to help provide more Americans with reliable access to the internet ecosystem, our hope is that federal, state and local authorities, other private companies, pole owners and broadband providers will work together and play a pivotal role in expanding networks to unserved areas.”
The successful and timely execution of this initiative is dependent on a variety of external factors, including the utility pole permitting and “make-ready” processes. With fewer homes and businesses in these areas, broadband providers need to access multiple poles for every new home served, as opposed to multiple homes per pole in higher-density settings. As a result, pole applications, pole replacement rules and their affiliated issue resolution processes are all factors that can have a significant impact on the length of time it takes to build into these rural areas.
Rutledge added, “The more cooperation we have with the pole owners and utility companies, the faster we can connect these communities with high-speed internet services. We look forward to working with local municipalities, electric cooperatives, and investor-owned utilities to ensure that permits are obtained in a timely, fair and cost-effective fashion.”

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