Dialogue: Broadband Access In Tennessee

Oct 5, 2016

Credit Brandon Hollingsworth, WUOT News

Many of us take the internet for granted, and may even think of it as a luxury, something to waste time at work or share cat videos. But for some people, no high-speed internet access could close the door to economic and personal growth, from job applications to online college courses. Today onĀ Dialogue, we explore broadband access in Tennessee and what it means for residents, communities and the state.

A report commissioned by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) found 13 percent of the state's homes and business didn't have broadband access. Many of those communities are in rural areas. In other parts of the state, customers chose cheaper, slower internet service to save money.

We also discuss battles over internet service in Chattanooga and Nashville. In Chattanooga, telecom companies scored a win over the city's utility, EPB, when a federal court upheld a state law barring EPB from expanding its high-speed internet service to outlying areas. In Nashville, AT&T is suing Metro government over a law designed to make it easier for Google Fiber to enter the market.

Guests include Tennessee ECD Commissioner Randy Boyd, Nashville Tennessean reporter Jamie McGee, and Nooga.com business reporter Chloe Morrison.

Read the Tennessee ECD's broadband access survey report here.