Rural Robertson County Tennessee Experiencing a Broadband Upgrade

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    A new, local high-speed Internet service provider recently launched operations in Robertson County after months of planning.

    Lightning Broadband, LLC is up and running in the Cedar Hill area near Head Brothers Farms offering high-speed Internet to about eight homes near Kinney’s Road and J.L. Farmer Road.

    The service is beneficial to both businesses and homeowners, according to Corey Head, who lives and works with Head Brothers Farms.

    “It is awesome,” Head said. “It’s so quick, and it actually works.”

    Head said his family and business had been using DSL, which was very slow.

    “It was awful,” Head said. “You couldn’t hardly even get on the Internet and do anything.”

    Lightning Broadband attached an antenna to a 120-foot grain leg on the Head Brothers Farm, which services customers within about a two-mile radius, according to the company’s co-owner Neil Petersen.

    “Customers within that radius can receive the service, depending on the terrain,” Petersen said. “We can go out and survey someone’s land and see whether they can receive the signal.”

    As the company continues to grow, Petersen is hopeful people who work from home or school students will be able to utilize the service when doing homework.

    Head said his son Logan, who is a seventh grade student at Jo Byrns High School, is now able to do his homework without worrying about using all the family’s data as part of another provider’s plan that included a data cap..

    “Logan didn’t want to use the Internet here for his schooling and use the data up on his phone, so this has helped me a lot,” Head said.

    Companies seek to build infrastructure

    Last spring, the City of Springfield paved the way for Internet providers to attach equipment to water tanks owned by the city, expanding the availability of high-speed Internet service throughout the county.

    Kentucky-based Fastnet Wireless is leasing space on the Highway 431 South water tank near Highway 257, but has yet to install its equipment, according to Springfield Water/Wastewater Director Roger Lemasters.

    “I met with them a couple of weeks ago out there,” Lemasters said. “They apparently are still planning on doing that. They were trying to figure out what kind of tubing we have to go from the outside to the inside and on up the interior of the tank.”

    Lightning Broadband will soon activate its antenna on top of the Mabel Street/Eighth Avenue water tank in Springfield, according to Petersen.

    “We’re hoping to provide service to customers in that area and south and east of Springfield for customers out in the rural areas who cannot get it otherwise,” Petersen said. “People are interested in our service since there’s no data cap.”

    Fastnet and Lighting Broadband’s leases with the City of Springfield were specific to each tank, according to Lemasters.

    Margot Fosnes, president and chief economic development officer with the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce, said she is pleased to see a local business enter this market to provide broadband internet access to underserved areas of our county.

    “Neil Petersen has a vested interest in the growth and prosperity of Robertson County and we believe this additional opportunity for Internet service will be both a good business venture for him and an asset to the community,” Fosnes said. “The type of service that Lightning Broadband is providing is currently the best option for bringing affordable, high speed Internet to many areas of Robertson County that currently have few or no options.”

    Fosnes said she believes the service will open up opportunities for home-based businesses, telecommuting and access to educational opportunities for Robertson County citizens who currently have to rely on higher cost and less reliable options.

    Customers are billed based on the speed offered – the higher the speed, the more a customer can expect to pay.

    “With our service, there are no contracts and there is no cap on the data,” Petersen said.

    Three megabits per second costs $49.95, six megabits per second costs $59.95 and 12 megabits per second costs $69.95.

    Installation with Lightning Broadband costs about $150 and the transmitter receiver is smaller than a satellite dish, according to Petersen.

    Once the antenna on the water tank on Eighth Avenue in Springfield is functioning, Petersen said he hopes to continue placing more antennas throughout the rural areas in and around Springfield.

    “We’re putting an antenna now on a silo out at Riverview Farms in Adams, near the Kentucky line,” Petersen said. “That area has quite a few people who do not have access to the Internet.”

    [Article originally published on http://www.tennessean.com; written by Cheri Reeves]

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