3:01PM February 26, 2018
Bill, you are right that we will provide high-speed internet access to our members in phases. We are using a member-driven process, so we will build first to those zones that hit their participation goals first (Medina, Dyer and Three Way). We also will be taking advantage of any grants that we can secure for members in our area. We submitted three Tennessee Broadband Grant applications and were awarded one. Phase 1 also will include the area covered by the Tennessee Broadband Grant (the Tiptonville, Ridgely and Samburg zones). So all total, we will be working in six zones to start.
At the advice of our consultants (who have done the same kind of fiber buildout for their electric cooperative members) we will begin with about 550 miles. We hope to have most of the Phase 1 construction completed by the end of the year and start engineering on the next phase prior to completing Phase 1. Of course, we hope that we can complete the work faster, but we don’t want to over-promise and under-deliver. Our consultants also have told us that after this initial phase, we should be able to build out about 1,000 miles each year. We have a total of about 3,000 miles of line to build.
We understand that you want and need this service as quickly as possible, but we ask you and our other Gibson Connect registrants to be patient. It is quite an undertaking to build fiber access to all of our eligible members, but that is what we plan to do. While we’d like to do it much more quickly, it will likely require several years.
We are asking our members to tell their friends, family and neighbors about Gibson Connect, but we also are encouraging signups by communicating regularly through our monthly member publications (The Tennessee Magazine and Kentucky Living); press releases; social media for both Gibson Connect and Gibson EMC (Facebook and Twitter); our Gibson EMC website, and bill messages. More sparingly (because of cost), we are using paid ads (radio and newspaper) and bill inserts. Additionally, we’re using fliers, counter stands, and banners in our member service centers. With the help of our Zone Champions we are using yard signs and door hangers. As zones near their participation goals, we are hosting registration events.
Thank you for your input and your support, Bill. Please continue to help us spread the word.