Tennessee State Senator Paul Bailey plans to introduce legislation to help expand broadband internet into rural areas of the Upper Cumberland.
Bailey said some residents may take their internet services for granted and don’t realize that many rely on stable connections.
“I think people, like myself, that have had fiber and broadband for a number of years do not realize there are parts of the Upper Cumberland that are not served by broadband,” Bailey said. “That’s so important not just for business, but for individuals, especially on the telemedicine side where individuals can reach out through that.”
The issue of broadband expansion has risen in Cumberland County as Mayor Allen Foster pushes for more coverage. Bailey said he has spoken to county officials and wants to help tackle the issue.
“It’s involving one of the service providers there that is basically stating that they’re providing a level of service that disqualifies them from being able to receive grants,” Bailey said, “or other providers receive grants to come in and expand the service.”
Bailey did not mention who the service provider was but said he is currently working with county officials to resolve the issue and continue their efforts in expanding broadband.
“We have been working with that current service provider to see if we can get them to admit that the speed they are offering is well below what they’re reporting, so that those grants will become available.”
Bailey discussed expanding broadband services earlier this year during a special Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce meeting. Other areas such as Smith County and Putnam County have already begun expanding broadband services within the past six months.