State’s TACIR Commission Studying Broadband Availability

Posted: February 16, 2016

The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) is conducting a study regarding broadband development and deployment in Tennessee. The report is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, according to the office of TACIR Chairman and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville).

“This is an important undertaking,” Leader Norris said in a statement last fall. “Internet access, and the broadband we need to provide it, is critical to commerce and quality of life, especially in our rural communities. In addition to the general public’s need for reliable access, broadband is essential to the state’s education and economic development efforts. We hope this study will help to provide a clear path forward to increase reliable access statewide.”

The commission convened two panels last October, one representing the interests of broadband providers and the other representing the interests of users and the broader community. TTA Executive Director Levoy Knowles spoke on behalf of TTA members and their customers.

Following is the official purpose of the study, as stated in TACIR’s research plan:

Study the current status of broadband availability, deployment, and adoption in Tennessee, including the extent and quality of coverage, factors that affect the cost of deploying broadband (including incentives to increase deployment), tax policy, and barriers to expansion (including pole attachment rates and governmental requirements) by public and private providers. Evaluate best practices in other states. Recommend ways that Tennessee can increase access to broadband in the future.