The board overseeing Greeneville Light and Power Systems will soon be getting information about what it would take to get into the broadband internet business.
The decision to compile that information came Monday after town officials urged the Greeneville Energy Authority Board on Monday to consider adding the service.
“I think it may be time for Greeneville Light and Power Systems to start providing broadband,” Greeneville City Administrator Todd Smith told the board during its meeting.
Smith said that GLPS could provide better internet and better customer service than large international corporations such as Comcast, the dominant provider in this region. Smith also noted that the money customers paid on their broadband bills would be staying in the community, rather than being paid out to massive multi-national corporations.
Smith pointed to federal funding that could be used to provide capital to build the infrastructure to provide such a service. He also said that the town would also be willing to help out if requested.
“I’m tired of letting these grant applications for broadband pass by my desk,” Smith said.
Smith told the board that broadband access is an integral part of bringing in people and businesses to the county.
Aldermen Tim Teague, who was in attendance at Monday’s meeting, is in support of providing broadband to the county.
“I’m very committed to this idea, and I think Greene County needs it,” Teague said.
GLPS has been wary about the costs of providing broadband in the past, but according to its CEO Chuck Bowlin, the idea of GLPS getting into the broadband business may not be as far fetched as initially thought.
Bowlin will begin looking at broadband grants in October, and will put together a broadband business plan to present to the board in November.
“Providing broadband maybe more viable than we were thinking,” Bowlin said.
Some surrounding municipalities such as Washington County and Newport have already begun implementing a broadband infrastructure.
“If Newport can do it, anybody can do it,” said Energy Authority Board member Sam Miller.