KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The new year may include new, faster internet service for many Knoxville Utilities Board customers.
KUB crews have started work on the first phase of the board’s major planned upgrade to their network. That plan, approved by city leaders earlier this year, includes improvements to their grid as well as running hundreds of miles of broadband fiber to their more than 210,000 electric customers.
Some of those customers could begin using KUB’s broadband service as soon as fall 2022.
Phase one will include between 30,000-45,000 customers. Jay Miller, marketing manager for KUB, said it will include a large portion of East Knoxville, Park City, stretches of Magnolia Avenue and Riverside Drive, then further north in Inskip, as well as northwest portions of the city and county, and parts of Union and Grainger counties.
“Some people are what we call underserved,” Miller said. “They just don’t have the speeds necessary, that we believe, they need to work from home or school from home.”
The first phase is set to be completed by fall 2023. However, the more than $700 million dollar investment is set to take eight years to complete.
KUB pledges those who sign up will see an upload and download speed of 1 gigabit per second, no data caps, and local customer support for $65 a month. When it comes to people working from home, dealing with data or large files, Miller noted their symmetrical broadband will take seconds to download the critical files.
KUB’s long-term plan includes offering TV and phone service for fiber internet customers. The utility will also be hiring as their broadband plan continues. They’re holding a job fair Jan 13-14 at Pellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue campus. To register, go to kub.org/community-job-fair.