Mar 1 2007
08:44 am
By: WhitesCreek

Sitting out here on my digital dial up connection, I lust for a high speed conection. Even though we have 30 houses requesting service on 2 miles of road, nobody wants to get us connected. Frustrating, particularly knowing that the great state of Kentucky has roughly 80% of the state served by broadband while Tennessee is almost exactly the opposite.

What gives?

The folks in West Roane County have given up on the usual suspects and taken matters into their own hands. After working for several years now, trying to get Rural Broadband, several folks beat the bushes and looked for their own solution. They found it in a wireless internet company that has succesfully built a wireless broadband cloud over 3500 square miles of Minnesota and is working with local partners to start serving Roane County's neglected customers.

Initially aimed (literally) at the area south of Rockwood, the company's system will be capable of serving a large portion of Roane County's population and several neighborhoods in Rhea county as well.

These guys are a small can-do group who have already come down here, set up test antennae, and driven around to figure out where their smallish antennae need to be located in order to reach the most homes in our hilly countyside. Satisfied they can provide the service, they are now asking for folks who may be interested to go and put their names on the list of potential customers.

Who knows...If this one is a success, and it looks like a winner to me, Tenessee may get serious coverage.

Check it out and sign up if you are anywhere near Roosevelt Mountain, west Roane County, or Westel.



R. Neal's picture

Hey, that was going to be my

Hey, that was going to be my next post but you beat me to it. I got an e-mail from a Rockwood resident about it, and checked out the company. I came to the same conclusion as you that they are small but seem to have pretty impressive qualifications and a good track record. Their Minnesota operation looks pretty cool. Hope they can do the same thing for you folks out there in Roane County.

WhitesCreek's picture

Sorry Boss!

Feel free to add anything I missed.

I've been involved in helping them get off the ground and I like the guys way of doing things. When they were invited into town, the first thing they wanted to know was who the tech folks were around here. I was worried they would come in, cherry pick and move on, but no! They want local partners.

We'll see how much of a road block the local authorities become.


R. Neal's picture

I liked the part about the

I liked the part about the meeting in the fire hall. Grassroots Broadband!

smalc's picture

So is there any reason for

So is there any reason for people outside of the proposed area to sign up? I am in northern Loudon County without any broadband access.

redmondkr's picture

You are not necessarily

You are not necessarily without broadband. If you can see open sky in the south southwest, Direct TV offers satellite service through HughesNet. Download speeds are only "up to 768 kbps" and it may be pricey - I haven't checked - but it has to be better than dial up.


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smalc's picture

Yeah. I've looked at

Yeah. I've looked at Hughesnet (which I don't think is affiliated with DirectTV anymore, we have DirectTV service). But I couldn't justify the high up-front costs ($400 for a dish and modem!) and I've read bad reviews that worry me.

I may change my tune when the kiddies get old enough to use the internet. I don't get much computer time at home anyway, with two younguns. And, I do have broadband at my office.

Andy Axel's picture

Download speeds are only "up

Download speeds are only "up to 768 kbps" and it may be pricey - I haven't checked - but it has to be better than dial up.

Even dialup doesn't have one-way latency of 500ms.


Recursive blogwhore.

seaowl's picture

Nee for a National Policy

The United States should establish specific goals and timelines for building out a high capacity broadband network within a reasonable time frame; targets for speed (up & down) and penetration (percentages of population served) with a special focus on closing the digital divide caused by barriers of income, geography, literacy and disability.

You can get more information and test you Internet access speed at (link...)

WhitesCreek's picture


Satellite broadband is pretty weak. Download speed is ok but upload is lame. It simply isn't sufficient for anyone who actually uses the internet as a business tool.

As for Loudon or other areas, once we see what can be done in Roane County, the model can be expanded to other counties. For now, the hold up seems to be the slow response of Bellsouth in installing the T1 lines.

I'll keep you guys posted.


seaowl's picture

Not only do you need the

Not only do you need the T1's you need fiber to the premise for truly high speeds, not fiber to the node like att's new U-verse.

WhitesCreek's picture

you need fiber to the

you need fiber to the premise for truly high speeds

Step one first, then Step Two. Right now some of us don't even have ISDN.

Factchecker's picture


Several years ago I looked at one of them-there satellites for the internets. I was trying to read the fine print and it looked to me like the carrier ("Hughes" (hah), DirectTV or whoever--can't remember) was claiming they owned everything. No privacy at all. I took it to include that if you e-mailed someone with an idea, they could claim it as their IP! I'm no lawyer, so maybe I misinterpreted.

Does that sound possible? Anyway, there were far too many drawbacks to consider it further.

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