Braving Icy Conditions

Posted: March 23, 2021

TNBA members respond to wave of winter weather

A recent wave of winter weather caused some Tennessee Broadband Association (TNBA) members to jump into action to make sure their customers remained connected.

Jonathan West, general manager of Twin Lakes in Gainesboro, said about a third of their service area was impacted by ice, which he said causes similar damage to a tornado. About 6,000 Twin Lakes customers lost broadband service, but West said more than 5,000 were out only because their power was out.

Twin Lakes has replaced almost all of their network in the last 10 years and have buried much of their cable, which protected it from damage. Still, crews responded to help their community recover from the storm.

“We are blessed with some great contractors working in the area and blessed with some great employees who are always willing to step up and do whatever is necessary,” West said.

More than 95% of impacted Twin Lakes customers were restored within a day. That number rose to 99% within two days.

Many TNBA members said the impact to their service areas was minimal, but that didn’t stop them from rushing out in the weather to check on their customers.

“From riding for miles in an open ATV to walking up half-mile frozen driveways, snow and ice didn’t hold back the team at United,” William Bradford, President & CEO at United Communications, said. “We really appreciate the commitment of our employees to make sure our customers maintained service.”

According to the National Weather Service, a winter storm brought significant freezing rain, sleet, and snow to Middle Tennessee in February. That was followed by another round of storms that brought the most widespread, heavy snowfall Middle Tennessee had seen in five years. Snowfall totals ranged from two to six inches across Middle Tennessee, with the heaviest amounts across Wayne, Lawrence and Giles counties.

Chris Townson, chief executive officer at DTC Communications, said they too were minimally impacted. There were some outages, but most of those were caused by a loss of electricity.

“Our team did an amazing job of staying on top of any customer report or network outage,” he said. “They worked to repair the damage as soon as it was safe and practical to do so.”

Levoy Knowles, TNBA executive director, said even though the storms did not cause major problems, TNBA members are some of the most prepared anywhere and are always ready to help their communities.

“Even during a global pandemic or winter storms, the communities we serve know our members stand ready to help them and provide them with the services they have come to count on,” he said.