Building for the future

May 25, 2018

 • BY Ron Holcomb

As you read this, crews are preparing the infrastructure that will deliver high speed broadband internet along with television and telephone service to Tipmont’s membership. I’ve received emails and calls from many of you, and I’m humbled by your excitement.

I wrote last month about how fiber uses hair-thin strands of pure glass to transmit information at near the speed of light. Because it is made of glass, neither storms, snow, lightning or other electrical interference will cause disruption to your service. One small fiber can carry multiple signals that don’t degrade over long distances. Unlike cable service, performance is not affected by interference or shared bandwidth. The result is virtually unlimited bandwidth and farther reach.

But is this fiber network future proof? The answer is yes. Will expensive upgrades be necessary in the near future? The answer is no. Most of the first-generation fiber lines that were laid in the 1980s are still in use today. More than likely, the fiber Tipmont is building today will not have to be replaced in your lifetime.

The cost to maintain fiber is relatively low. Any future upgrades to fiber service are made by changing the technologies that create the light pulses and not by replacing the lines itself. Think of the fiber lines like a road. You can go 50 miles per hour or 500 miles per hour (thankfully, potholes and police officers aren’t a thing on fiber lines). The only limiting factor is your “vehicle.” In the case of fiber, the vehicle is the laser that shoots the light across the network. The good news is that upgrading the laser is much less expensive than having to install new lines.

It’s a good thing, too, because there’s no reason to believe that innovation in internet applications will ever slow down. In fact, all signs point toward their acceleration. High-definition video, telemedicine, distance learning, telecommuting, and other applications continue to evolve. Tipmont’s fiber technology will provide the expandable bandwidth that will serve your needs far into the future.

I want to thank all of you who attended our member meetings this spring. Our Annual Meeting is Saturday, July 28, at McCutcheon High School. We look forward to sharing more with you about our fiber internet project and other ways we are providing the essential services you need to be successful.

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Ron Holcomb

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Ron is a 30 year veteran of the electric utility industry with extensive experience in power supply, advanced grid technologies, essential service operations, economic development and value-driven growth initiatives for combined electric and telecommunication utilities. During his career, he has led three utilities as President/CEO and provided management consulting to utilities across the country. Ron joined Tipmont REMC as CEO in summer 2013. He holds a B.S. in Physics from Austin Peay State University and an MBA from Murray State University.
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