Internet infrastructure may be less understood than other types of infrastructure simply because it is less visual: unlike roads and water treatment plants, it is not something you see in the landscape. But having a future-proof physical infrastructure is essential for the Internet to function as people expect – quickly.
Stacy Evans, head of broadband and technology at BrightRidge Broadband, said Johnson City and much of BrightRidge’s service area are now at the forefront of the broadband revolution – connecting people who didn’t. not accessing and bringing the next generation of Internet infrastructure to northeast Tennessee.
The next generation, Evans says, is broadband fiber to the premises – and it is light years better than the copper wire-based infrastructure built across much of the country when use home Internet took off more than three decades ago. He says there is a need to adapt to changes in the way people use the Internet.
“It’s not at all the same as the old vendors,” says Evans. “The web applications people use, the way they use these tools, are as revolutionary as in the early 1900s, when electricity was first deployed in the state by the Tennessee Valley Authority. “
The Internet is made up of data signals that are sent over a physical infrastructure. The difference between sending these signals through the copper wire of a cable or telephone lines and sending over a fiber optic cable is an extremely high difference in speed, capacity, and latency, Evans explains.
The characteristics of the copper wire limit the bandwidth the customer can access, especially in the download direction, he says. The fiber optic cable transmits data by light wave and offers customers exponentially higher bandwidth. Copper-based infrastructure also results in slower speeds in areas further away from the distribution center, especially as more people connect, while fiber can bring the same broadband to all of its. network with the ability to resell.
For BrightRidge, expanding broadband access is about bringing this next-generation Internet to its customers – and using the synergies to keep electricity prices lower.
“By the end of 2023, we expect all of Johnson City’s city limits to be fiber-covered, and then we build these additional locations. southeast of Johnson City, ”Evans says. “Our ultimate plan is to serve the 81,000 electrical subscribers with broadband service in the future.”
A lot has changed over the past 30 years, says Evans: Back then, few people were downloading large amounts of data. Thus, the Internet architecture was built to the equivalent of a 10-lane highway with nine lanes to the south and one lane to the north. As usage exploded beyond web browsing and downloads, this architecture quickly proved inadequate, leaving customers unable to perform important work needed for school and employment.
“On your smartphone, you take photos and videos, you use social networks. You’re moving huge amounts of data to the internet cloud, so it’s huge and growing, ”he says. “The COVID pandemic exacerbated these limitations as people working from home quickly realized that slow download speeds significantly limited what they could do. “
That’s why BrightRidge is building a symmetrical fiber-optic infrastructure, he says: the data equivalent of building nine lanes in each direction.
As a result, BrightRidge Broadband will improve everything from virtual meetings to video security systems and “smart” devices to telemedicine and the ability of physicians to remotely analyze medical scans.
For BrightRidge, a nonprofit utility company formerly known as the Johnson City Power Board, the internet effort began with a 2017 survey that found huge demand for better services.
This prompted the 76-year-old utility to set up its Internet division in 2018 and begin serving customers in 2019. Today, BrightRidge Broadband serves over 6,000 homes and businesses with broadband services and hundreds. more are added each month.
Evans says Johnson City, Jonesborough and Washington County are only the sixth community in the United States to offer symmetrical 10 Gbps (gigabytes per second) broadband at home, and BrightRidge was the first provider to offer it to all optical fibers. optical customers in its service area. In other words, BrightRidge has brought world class internet to the Johnson City area.
Very few ISPs in the country offer symmetrical 10GB services and certainly not at BrightRidge’s low price, he said. And it is booming. He says the system ties into the two main East Coast Internet backbone hubs – in Northern Virginia and Atlanta – and it’s so fast that professional video gamers in other parts of the country are actually complaining that It is unfair.
Meanwhile, he says it helps both BrightRidge Electric and Broadband customers as well as consumers of competing ISPs.
This helps electrical customers, Evans explains, as the proliferation of energy efficient products across society has reduced demand even as the number of customers has increased. The pressure this puts on electricity prices is offset by revenues from the sale of broadband Internet services.
It also helps all internet consumers as competition drives down prices and boosts the region as broadband access is a huge decision factor for businesses and individuals when deciding where to locate, just like the original basic utilities such as water, sewage and electricity.
Evans says the company offers consistent upfront pricing, no service contracts or data caps, 24/7 local customer service, free installation, and competitive pricing, starting at $ 49.99 per month. for its 200 Mbps (megabytes per second) service and $ 149.99 for its 10 Gpbs service, with several options in between.
For more details, visit www.MyBrightRidge.com or call 423-952-5000.