Washington, DC – Dr. Mike Browder, CEO of Bristol Tennessee Essential Services (BTES), was the keynote speaker at the Association of Global Business and the International Academy of Linguistics, Behavioral and Social Sciences Annual Conference held in Washington, DC November 15-17. He spoke about BTES' gigabit data services, creating global leaders and technological talents in today's competitive global marketplace through partnerships between international business organizations and academic communities.
BTES, an electric utility that also provides Internet, telephone and cable television services in East Tennessee, is now offering one gigabit per second Internet service to every business, school and home in their 280-square-mile service area. This makes BTES one of only a few companies offering Internet services at this speed with one of the fastest, totally built-out networks in the United States.
Browder said that BTES' ultra high-speed fiber optic connections works in partnership with Alcatel-Lucent's gigabit passive optical network (GPON) technology to offer one gigabit Internet speeds with almost unlimited possibilities. This supports BTES' emphasis on economic development, advanced educational tools and sustainability by providing one of the fastest, most cost-effective and reliable data services offered in the country. This helps attract businesses to the Bristol area, supports the need for high-speed data services in our education system and helps BTES to remain a sustainable organization.
"High-speed data service is crucial to area schools," Browder said to conference attendees. "Gigabit service is available to every secondary school in the BTES service area and each one is now connected with their choice of either 100 Mbps or gigabit service. With this connection, local classrooms are able to experience things that would not be possible otherwise, such as virtual visits to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC without leaving the classroom."
He went on to explain that one area elementary school located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains did just that by using SMART Board Technology and BTES' gigabit service. Virtual field trips to learn about other parts of the world are now common, such as one classroom that was able to take 20 eight-year-olds to the Egyptian pyramids. They learned how and why the pyramids were built by asking their own tour guide who was actually at the pyramids. They were able to see up close what the pyramids were built from and had a much better understanding of these enormous structures through this venture, and they never had to leave their classroom.
Not only do elementary, middle and high schools benefit from having gigabit service, but it also opens up a huge opportunity for area universities to prosper. East Tennessee State University's Dr. Andy Czuchry told conference attendees, "When children are able to stay in their hometown, obtain a degree and then get a job in their hometown all because the technology is available, it is a major accomplishment of which any location in the United States would be proud. BTES' gigabit technology is opening so many doors in our community."
BTES' gigabit service is also allowing local teachers to have access to experts in specific fields of study who can speak to their classrooms virtually. These experts – from archeologists to astronauts - can speak about first-hand experiences and answer any questions a student may have right then. Students become more engaged in learning and retain knowledge easier than just by reading it in a book.
Dr. Gary Lilly, the Director of Schools for the City of Bristol, Tennessee, knows how important high-speed data service is to his district. He said, "Districts throughout Tennessee are scrambling to make sure they have the necessary hardware and bandwidth to meet the state's intention of implementing online testing in 2014. With the fiber connection provided to our schools through BTES, we're ready to meet the bandwidth requirements today. It is imperative that everything work correctly when doing high stakes testing online. Given our great experience with BTES, we're confident that our connection to the Internet will work when we need it."
In addition to helping the education system, BTES' gigabit service is helping the community in economic development. Recently, Bristol Tennessee joined an elite group of locations identified by a recent Deloitte Consulting study as a TVA pre-qualifier for a Data Center site. The presence of BTES' state-of-the-art fiber optics was a major factor in Bristol's selection. Browder said, "This designation confirms the vision that BTES had when we developed this system and our vision of adding fiber-optic services to our highly reliable electric system continues to enhance our ability to attract companies and promote economic growth in our area."
"One example", Browder continued, "is World Media Enterprises, an independent, publicly owned communications company in the Southeast that has a location in Bristol, Tennessee. That location publishes seven newspapers and, since connected to BTES' services, they have never missed a deadline due to an outage."
Jim Maxwell, regional publisher of the Bristol Herald Courier and World Media Enterprises/Berkshire Hathaway's Southwest Virginia newspapers said, "Having an extremely fast data network is essential to our business and BTES has provided us with dependable service which has helped us be a sustainable organization."