ROANEnet Supports All Recommendations in the REU Study

Rockwood, TN, August 28, 2019 --( ROANEnet (, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing affordable and reliable internet access and digital literacy in Roane County, responded to the release of the Rockwood Electric Utility (REU) report today. “We are encouraged at the results of the study,” said Dayle Beyer, Chairperson of ROANEnet.

Elliott Barnett, principle at StrataG, presented a report summary for a small project that was commissioned by REU board of directors 7 months ago. The findings of the project are that there are really two main approaches to get in the broadband business. REU can go all-in to get fiber to all its customers. With that all-in approach comes extremely high front-end capital cost plus the risk of many unknowns such as how many people are going to sign-up for internet service and how long is it going to take for REU to pay off any borrowed money.

The second lower risk tactic would be an incremental approach. For the incremental approach, Elliott presented 3 recommendations. First, REU can look at ways to improve their electrical system while at the same time, look at how to utilize the existing 50 miles of fiber backbone for generating additional revenue. A second recommendation is creating small pilots of other technologies such as, wireless, fixed wireless, small cell.

The third recommendation is to continue to pursue state and federal grants. “We are constantly keeping our eye out for federal and state grants for opportunities to get money that really helps offset some of the funding capital costs,” said Elliott.

StrataG, on the behalf of REU, submitted for a $50,000 ARC grant in April 2019. Elliott stated, “I think the best chance of any near-term activity on their part will be if we get the ARC grant we applied for in April.” If this grant is awarded, it would provide funding for the evaluation of some of the wireless technologies, testing of some equipment to figure out which technology works the best for REU and then develop an implementation plan.

ROANEnet is in full support of REU continuing to pursue grants to fund the pursuit of offering affordable and reliable high-speed internet access to every REU customer as a utility option.
Dayle Beyer