Gibson Electric Membership Corporation and its not-for-profit subsidiary, Gibson Connect, announced today that their boards have approved moving forward with Phase II of their broadband buildout. Phase II will include the zones that have met or are very close to meeting their participation goals - Trenton North, Trenton South, Humboldt/Gibson, Gadsden and Hornbeak.
Gibson EMC’s members are guiding the order of the broadband buildout by registering for high-speed internet service at join.gibsonconnect.com. “A start date for Phase II construction has not yet be set, but Board approval enables us to begin the detailed engineering step of the buildout,” said Dan Rodamaker, President and CEO of Gibson EMC and Gibson Connect. “As the engineering design is completed, the construction of the fiber distribution or main lines will begin. As the fiber distribution lines are built, we’ll perform the fiber splicing. As the splicing is completed, we’ll put in the service drops; and finally, we will do the in-home installations.”
“We are still diligently working on Phase 1 - Medina, Three Way, Dyer, Ridgely, Samburg and Tiptonville,” said Charles Phillips, Gibson EMC VP of Technical Services and Gibson Connect VP of Operations. “In Medina and Three Way we have connected more than 600 residential members; and with the improved weather, service drops and installations are progressing well,” Phillips explained.
Phillips said Gibson Connect expects to continue working in Medina and Three Way for several more months. “However, if you haven’t registered, but want Gibson Connect service, you should register now at join.gibsonconnect.com,” he said. “Once we leave the area, we’ll need to charge a higher installation fee to return.”
In Dyer and Ridgely, Phillips said they have almost completed the fiber distribution system. “Construction of the main fiber lines is in the early stages in Tiptonville. And, once we finish up the Tiptonville area, we’ll move on to start the main fiber line construction in Samburg,” he said. “We’re working as quickly as we can, but we ask our members to be patient. Building more than 600 miles of fiber-to-the-home per phase is a large and time-intensive process,” Phillips said. “The good news is that our product is excellent. Those members who have been connected say they love the service!”
In our follow-up survey, Diane Deloach of Three Way said, “WOW! We are telling our family to sign up. Don’t change a thing. Your program works.” Susan Morris of Medina said, “The installer was great! He went above and beyond! Super nice. Everything was great.” And, Larry Chandler of Medina said, “They were professional and polite. I couldn’t ask for a better experience.”
“Our goal is to ultimately provide all of our eligible members with access to high-speed, fiber-based service, but to deliver fiber-to-the-home access throughout our 12-county service area will take approximately five years,” Rodamaker said. “To help move the project along and hold down costs, we are vigorously pursuing grants for those areas that qualify. So far, we have been awarded a $1.3 million Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Grant and $1.22 million in CAF II funding for areas in Tennessee and in Kentucky,” he said. “Recently we also applied for two more Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Grants for Gadsden and northern Obion County. We were awarded $588,974 for the Gadsden area. We plan to apply for other low-interest loans or grants through the USDA Rural Utilities Service as they become available.”
Gibson Connect is a wholly-owned, not-for-profit subsidiary of Gibson EMC formed to provide high-speed internet access to Gibson EMC’s members. Gibson EMC is a local, not-for-profit, member-owned and member-controlled cooperative serving almost 39,000 homes and businesses in eight west Tennessee counties (Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Haywood, Lake, Lauderdale, Obion and Madison) and four west Kentucky counties (Carlisle, Fulton, Graves and Hickman).