One of the most enduring frustrations for many people around the country is that while fiber optic broadband might get faster and faster in some hotspots, many people are left with poor offerings from monopolizing ISPs. In Tennessee, one resident is pioneering his own solution to the problem of poor upload and download rates: building his own service provider.
Tennessee has been at the center of of a brawl over the legalities of the way telecoms companies are currently protected to prevent the growth of public sector networks. Deciding he didn’t want to wait for the outcome of that protracted battle, John Thornton of Chattanooga decided to just go ahead with a DIY approach.
Spending more than $400,000 on the construction of his own fiber network, which links up with a nearby high-speed network in Stevenson, Alabama, Thornton is now offering a high-speed service to local residents. His new ISP is known as Hi-Tech Data, and it has a 100Mbps package available now for just $70 a month, or up to a gigabit for $80.
As well as offering high-speed Internet to residents though, the Hi-Tech Data development could prove to be a driving force for a change in legislation. By going to such outlandish personal costs, Thornton has shown the extreme steps that need to be taken to achieve decent download rates with the current system.
As it stands, Tennessee is one of 20 states that makes it difficult for new firms to develop telecom services by prohibiting the use of local taxes to aid in their creation. While the FCC has attempted to overturn these provision in the past, states like Tennessee sued to prevent it. As Ars Technica points out, the case is expected to go to appeal to see if those protections will remain.
But that’s something else Thornton wasn’t willing to wait for. He claims that high-speed Internet is not a luxury, but a necessity to compete in the national and international sphere.
“How in the world do we expect our children to be kept up to speed educationally when we don’t give them access to the speeds to keep up?” he said in a chat with Times Free Press.