In the News

 Officials push rural broadband

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
John I. Carney

Local and federal officials are starting to get involved in the issue of making broadband Internet access more accessible to more people.

"Broadband" refers to high-speed Internet access, as opposed to the dial-up access that introduced most people to the Internet. There are various forms of broadband, including DSL, cable Internet, wireless broadband and satellite broadband. Speeds and prices vary widely

Bedford County Mayor Eugene Ray has been working with Connected Tennessee, a non-profit agency aimed at accelerating the availability and use of technology in the state, to provide fast internet service to residents in rural areas of Bedford County.

As a result of this effort, Monster Broadband Inc. has announced plans to expand into Bedford County, based at Covered Bridge Estates in Bell Buckle.

"We're proud to have Monster Broadband take this giant step into Bedford County," said Ray in a news release. "I believe access to the best technology is important for the County as a whole. It will help to enhance economic, business and education development."

The Monster Broadband network will use wireless technology to beam a broadband signal to areas up to 10 miles away from the main tower. The company targets communities that do not yet have DSL or cable modem services. A subscriber unit is installed to the home or business and the small antenna is pointed toward one of the towers.

Monster Broadband provides round-the-clock service, according to a news release, and when calling in to the company customers will be connected to a live person. Monster Broadband is currently servicing Lynchburg and surrounding areas.

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Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon and his colleagues on the Congressional Rural Caucus sent a letter to Michael Copps, acting chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, asking it to ensure that broadband is made available to rural communities.

"The lack of broadband access for ... public and private sectors have far-reaching consequences to our rural communities," states the letter. "...It reduces the opportunities for employment, reduces their quality of life, and stifles their potential for economic development."

A recent survey, according to Gordon, found that 64 percent of Tennessee residents living in urban areas have broadband Internet service, compared to only 37 percent of those living in rural communities.

Congress has provided funds for broadband access and directed the FCC to develop a national broadband plan.

--John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette and covers county government. He is also the author of the self-published novel "Soapstone." His personal web site is

Offical Article Link: Shelbyville Times Article 2