High-Speed Internet for Rural Parts of Tennessee

by Melanie Jo Triebel

The U.S. continues its transition from slower, dial-up Internet service to high-speed service, called "broadband" Internet. Obtaining broadband Internet service has, however, been something of a challenge for many residents of the rural U.S. Tennessee is no different: rural areas of the state are among the last to receive broadband service.

Types of Broadband Internet

While all broadband Internet service is digital and relatively high speed, different means are used to provide a signal. The most common types of broadband -- DSL, cable and fiber-optic -- all use cables to deliver service. DSL uses telephone lines, cable uses coaxial television cables, while fiber-optic uses a network of fiber-optic cables. Additionally, Internet can be delivered using either a mobile wireless signal or a fixed, long-range wireless signal sent and received using an external antenna, or via a satellite signal.

Availability in Tennessee

The good news is that some form of broadband Internet service is now available in most parts of Tennessee. While fiber optic and cable Internet are still largely focused in metropolitan and other densely populated areas, DSL service and mobile wireless service are now available in many areas throughout the state.

Options for Rural Areas

For those areas of Tennessee that still do not have typical broadband service (DSL, cable Internet, mobile wireless and fiber optics), two other options are available. First, many rural parts of Tennessee are now serviced by long-range, fixed wireless Internet providers. Online directories such as the WISP Directory provide lists of such providers by state. Second, many rural Tennessee residents can obtain broadband Internet via satellite Internet services.

Getting a Provider

To find out whether broadband service is available in your area (and which providers offer service in your area), contact your local government, your state's public service commission, and cable and phone companies in your area. If broadband services are completely unavailable, you may be able to entice a provider to extend a network into your area. You can work with your neighbors to get a critical mass of customers to pre-subscribe to any provider who enters the area, or get your local or county government to offer incentives to potential service providers.

About the Author

Melanie Jo Triebel has been writing since 2003. Her articles have appeared in such publications as the "ARIAS U.S. Quarterly" and the "Sidley Reinsurance Law Report." Triebel holds a B.A. in music from Chapman University and a J.D. from the Chapman University School of Law. She has practiced law for nearly a decade and is licensed in California and Illinois.

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