Publicly-Funded Fiber Optic Network Officially Launched
When the Pulaski Electric System officially unveiled its fiber optic communications network Thursday, it was heralded by local officials as the next in a long line of progressive steps that has been taken by the city and its municipally-owned utility for more than 100 years.
“In March of 1891 the Pulaski City Council voted to enter into a contract with Fort Wayne Electric Light Company for the installation of an electric light plant in Pulaski,” Mayor Dan Speer said to the crowd that packed First National Bank’s Giles Heritage Theater. “When taking this step the Pulaski City Council had no idea how profound their decision and electricity would effect the future generations of Giles County.”
Following that lead, Speer noted that in April 2001 the Pulaski City Council passed a resolution strongly encouraging the Pulaski Electric System to investigate and explore the possibilities of developing a broadband network.
“Being a part of this process, I would like to believe the city council knew and understood the potential of our actions,” Speer said. “I am deeply convinced that future generations will appreciate what we have done today.”
What was done Thursday was the official launch of PES Energize. This takes the municipally-owned utility’s long history of providing electric service and adds the innovation of a fiber-optic-to-the-premises communications network, which puts Pulaski among a very elite group of communities in the state of Tennessee and the nation to provide this type of end user service.
Through its fiber optic network, PES Energize will offer high speed broadband, cable television and telephone services to customers mostly located within the city limits of Pulaski. However, some service has already been made available outside the city limits with plans to expand the network as it becomes possible to do so.
Speer looked back to 1993 when local leaders first brought the Internet to Giles County, becoming the first rural community to offer Internet connections to its citizens.
“This project will also bring us a community-owned, community-controlled cable TV system that will address our needs and will reflect our community,” Speer said. “The system will be operated by your neighbors and friends and their responsiveness and level of service will be second to none.”
Touting the economic development advantages expected to arise from the network, PES Energize Board of Directors Chairman Jerry Bryant noted the idea behind the utility creating the fiber-to-the-premises network by quoting a line from the movie “Field of Dreams.”
“A famous line in this movie was ‘If you build it, they will come,’” Bryant said. “In our case it was ‘If you don’t build it, they won’t come at all.’”
With Thursday’s official launch, PES Energize began taking orders for the services it will provide through its fiber-to-the-premises network.
Part of the ceremonies was the cutting of the ribbon at the newly-renovated PES Energize building. With PES Energize and local officials was a large group of Giles Countians who joined in taking the ceremonial next step.
“Pulaski is one of only approximately 40 communities in the entire country with fiber to the premises capabilities,” Speer said. “Our investment in this project is substantial, but it’s an investment in ourselves and future generations of Giles Countians.”
(Article can be found at http://www.gilesnews.us/stories/070328PES.html)