KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Utilities Board’s public forum discussing its high-speed broadband internet rollout happened Wednesday night.
Several people attended, interested in giving their opinions on the rollout. Broadband access has become a growing issue especially highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic when thousands of students had to learn online and some professionals had to work from home.
Many expressed that they were ready and that an updated broadband system is needed in several of the Greater Knoxville area communities that KUB covers such as those in Knox, Union, and Sevier counties.
KUB says it plans to install 100% symmetrical fiber. The addition of the service would create 200 new jobs. KUB still has to get approval from its Board of Commissioners and the Knoxville City Council before work can begin.
KUB says with approval, work could begin as early as 2022.
According to an Associated Press report last month, Tennessee ranked 34th among states in broadband coverage, according to the Federal Communications Commission’s 2020 broadband deployment report, which relies on December 2018 data. There are still 432,627 Tennesseans living in census blocks where no provider reported the baseline broadband speeds as of December 2019, the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, or TACIR, the report said.