KUB seeks public input on plan to add high-speed internet

Amora R Jelo

Your Knoxville Utilities Board bill could soon include internet in addition to electricity, water, wastewater and natural gas.

KUB plans to offer high-speed municipal broadband as its fifth utility, a change that would boost internet access across the community and almost certainly create jobs. It could also increase rates for customers. The service would be about $65 a month. 

KUB spokesperson Stephanie Midgett told Knox News that KUB has considered offering broadband since 2019 but the topic became more urgent in 2020 when the COVID-19 shutdown forced adults to work from home and children into virtual schooling.

KUB’s Eric Rhyno pulls apart a fiber ribbon to show a web of individual fiber as KUB installs fiber between two Knoxville substations as part of the utility’s efforts to continue improving its electrical system on Monday, May 24, 2021. KUB plans to offer high-speed municipal broadband as its fifth utility.

The utility is holding a public hearing Wednesday, one step in the approval process.

If the plan is approved, all 210,000 customers receiving KUB’s electricity will be able to get broadband internet with no caps on data usage. People outside of existing, private broadband service areas would be covered by the new network.

The plan is inspired by Chattanooga’s municipal broadband system, touted as one of the fastest and most reliable broadband networks in America. 

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