Podcast focuses on importance of broadband with Mark Patterson
Mark Patterson, CEO of Highland Telephone Cooperative, was a recent guest on the podcast “Lead Tennessee Radio.” The show is produced by the Tennessee Broadband Association.
In the episode, Patterson discussed the increased demand for broadband and the importance of partnerships to provide fiber to unserved rural areas. Other topics of the interview included the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on the cooperative and the importance of a fiber-to-the-home network.
Patterson discussed the recent increase in demand for broadband internet due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said HTC, which serves about 16,900 customers in Morgan and Scott counties in Tennessee and McCreary County in Kentucky, saw a year’s worth of bandwidth usage increase in just three weeks due to the increased number of people working and studying from home.
“We’ve seen the public adapt to stay-at-home orders and use broadband to work from home, for entertainment and for education,” he said.
Patterson also praised HTC’s fiber network, which now serves all of their 16,500 customers. HTC was the first rural broadband provider in Tennessee to complete its fiber network for all members in its service area.
“We replaced all our outside plants with fiber, so we have no more copper left in service,” he said.
Patterson said HTC is working with other cooperatives to share resources and make rural fiber installation as economical and efficient as possible. One of those partnerships is with Trilight, a group of telephone cooperatives that work directly with electric cooperatives to provide broadband service to those that do not have access to reliable broadband service.
“It’s a win-win for both groups when we can do this,” Patterson said. “It gets the services that are needed in the areas they serve where broadband is not available.”
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.