BrightRidge is closing in on broadband targets

Robert Houk • Updated Aug 28, 2019 at 3:17 PM

Despite a late start in marketing, BrightRidge officials said Tuesday the utility is on target to meet the goals it has set for the first phase of its broadband services.

Brian Bolling, BrightRidge’s chief financial officer, said broadband customers were in “test mode until June.” He told BrightRidge board members that the utility billed 131 broadband customers at the end of June. Of that number, 74 were connected by fiber and 57 were on wireless.

Bolling also said construction of Phase I was completed on June 30.

Jeff Dykes, BrightRidge’s chief executive officer, said the broadband rollout has come “later than expected” with the utility still working on its video components. BrightRidge said 79 percent of the possible providers to its over-the-top streaming video has signed up for the service.

Stacy Evans, the utility’s chief broadband officer, said many of the holdouts are “owned by competitors,” and include HBO, CBS Sports and Disney. Even so, Evans said BrightRidge has now signed up 293 customers for its internet broadband.

“We will be over 300 tomorrow,” he told board members.

Dykes also told board members that while BrightRidge’s electrical sales were flattening out due to energy efficiencies, he said the utility is “matching” with what the Tennessee valley Authority is experiencing. He also told the Press that he was pleased to see the direction TVA is heading.

The power provider has announced it would not be building any new electrical generation facilities, and would rely on its current wind, solar and nuclear sources.

“It’s a great move by TVA,” he said. “I’m excited about working with them.”

BrightRidge’s newest board member attended his first meeting on Tuesday. Gary Mabrey, who retired as the president and CEO of the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce earlier this year, was appointed to the board by Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock. He replaces Bob Cantler, who is the Chamber’s new president.