OUR COUNTY

Broadband legislation will be a game-changer

D. Gary Davis, Bradley County Mayor
Posted 4/18/17

The information age is here and we can either embrace it as a gift, or despise it as a curse.

Entire industries have been either changed, improved or quite possibly even eliminated. Forty years …

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OUR COUNTY

Broadband legislation will be a game-changer

Posted

The information age is here and we can either embrace it as a gift, or despise it as a curse.

Entire industries have been either changed, improved or quite possibly even eliminated. Forty years ago it would have never been imagined that film would be virtually eliminated. From regional portrait studios who were at that time thought to be “too big to fail” to processing centers which are no more, digitization has been a revolution.

One look at a “modern” office from just 25 years ago reveals ashtrays, typewriters, rolodexes, and if really up to date a fax machine and a computer monitor as large as a desk today.

The once cutting edge “dial up” connections would provide an astonishing speed of communication that is comparable to a conventional stove and microwave.

This continuing progress has also been a driving force in many areas of each of our lives. Information that was once held to be discussed without individual commentary during the noon day, evening news and our local newspapers is now dispensed without much regard to anyone, mere seconds after it happens.

The internet is truly like anything else in life. It can be used for good or it can just as easily be used for evil. The process is controlled by those who choose to use it, and their thoughts and intentions. After decades of uploading a seemingly endless amount of facts, figures and concepts, the ability for this information to be used in the pursuit of knowledge and education is indeed remarkable.

Last week the culmination of many years of dedicated work resulted in the passage of Tennessee legislation that will eventually provide the process for broadband internet to be a reality to all throughout Tennessee, including Bradley County.

Our neighbor to the south, Chattanooga, has become literally one of the first in the nation to offer 1-Gig service to their citizens. Whereas their ability to receive literally some of the fastest speeds of information transfer possible, it has been a struggle for others who have been denied this benefit.

Many across almost every portion of government service — including myself, business associates, educational professionals, community volunteers and every grassroots volunteer — have worked together to make this day not only possible, but a reality. I thank each and every one for the years of work and community efforts to lend their support in making the passage of this recent legislation possible.

Coupled with the state budget, the legislation makes targeted investments through grants and tax credits that focus on the state’s underserved or unserved areas. It also permits the state’s private, nonprofit electric cooperatives to provide retail broadband internet service — something they have been completely unable to do in the past.

The continued efforts needed to continue this process will be vital to making sure that the promise of equal opportunity for fast, reliable and affordable broadband internet helps improve our lives each and every day. This process has been compared to the “electrification” of rural America almost 100 years ago.

Who knows what “bright” idea may be nurtured in a small child that may reside even in Bradley County as they complete their homework assignments that may be the next amazing discovery for good that happens as a result of all of this hard work.

If you have labored in this effort and if you get the opportunity to say thank you to those who voted for this passage in Nashville last week, please shake their hand and thank them for contributing to our future.

We hopefully may all notice this change and improvement soon across the state. And thus Bradley County will continue to remain, Tennessee at its best!

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