Broadband touches all aspects of today’s world
Chris Townson, CEO of DTC Communications, was a recent guest on the podcast “Lead Tennessee Radio.” The show is produced by the Tennessee Broadband Association.
In the podcast interview with TNBA Executive Director Levoy Knowles, Townson discussed the importance of broadband today and the need for grant funding to bring broadband to rural Tennessee.
Townson said DTC, headquartered in Alexandria, has seen a 300% increase in requests for upgrades and new service since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“People need to connect with telemedicine. They are entertaining from home and educating from home,” Townson said. “Everyone needs a really good broadband connection.”
DTC serves about 14,000 customers in middle Tennessee. Townson said DTC began its fiber program in 2016 and has already built fiber to about half of its territory. By this time next year, he said DTC hopes to have 75% served with fiber.
“Fiber is not free, and it doesn’t happen quickly,” he said. “It requires a significant investment from our membership.”
During the first round of Broadband Accessibility Grants from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, DTC received a $1.725 million grant to extend broadband into an unserved portion of Smith and Wilson counties.
“Those dollars enabled us to build in an area that was very expensive,” he said. “It is rural. It’s in rough territory, and that is why it has never been served before now.”
The “Lead Tennessee Radio” podcast is an opportunity to discuss issues facing Tennessee with state leaders and lawmakers. Past episodes feature House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville; Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge; House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland; Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin; and many more.
“The cooperative and independent telecommunications companies who comprise the TNBA are working hard to ensure that everyone in rural Tennessee has access to this life-changing technology,” said Levoy Knowles, TNBA executive director and host of the show. “This podcast is a great opportunity to have conversations with state and industry leaders who are on the front lines working for a connected Tennessee.”
“Lead Tennessee Radio” can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play, as well as tennesseebroadband.com.