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High-speed headed to Corinth

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Williamstown receives $535,000 federal grant

By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Thanks to a federal grant, the citizens of Corinth will have high-speed Internet available from the city of Williamstown.

Williamstown was awarded $535,000 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Williamstown will match it with $134,000.

“We were excited,” said Mayor Glenn Caldwell. “You don’t get that kind of money very often.”

The grant will allow the expansion of Williamstown’s cable and Internet service into Corinth and New Columbus.

The project will require construction of 25 miles of pole lines.

“The great thing about this is that it is going to be cutting edge technology and fiber optic to the home,” said Roy Osborne, assistant cable superintendent.

“It’s going to allow for advanced technology and services,” said Chuck Hudson, superintendent of Williamstown’s cable department.

Osborne said the new system will have a higher band width capacity as opposed to the traditional cable lines.

Once the project is completed subscribers in the Corinth area will have the choice of regular cable TV service, High Definition channels or high-speed Internet.

“The big thing behind the city getting this grant has been the broad band technology into areas that don’t have it,” said Hudson.

“This will allow us to offer these services along  the U.S. 25 corridor from Williamstown to Corinth.”

Traditionally, in order to receive a cable connection, a house must be within 200 to 300 feet of a main line but with a fiber optic system the range expands to two kilometers.

“Which means you can even shoot it across the hills,” Osborne said.

Osborne and Hudson drove the roads involved in the project and physically counted each house and business. The project will serve 682 potential customers and connect to the Corinth City Building, Corinth Water District and Corinth Fire Department.

Williamstown has operated a cable department since 1984. It purchased Corinth’s cable system a few years ago.

“Corinth’s existing service was old and outdated, but now it will be replaced with the latest technology,” Hudson said.

Rates for Corinth have not yet been determined. Williamstown’s most popular service, according to Osborne, is $39.95 for basic cable and $39.95 for a 6 mg Internet connection. Other packages and additional channels are extra.

“As soon as funds are available, the remainder of the system design will be completed,” said Osborne.

The project will take a year to complete after funding is released.

“This will open opportunities in other areas,” Hudson said. “It’s pretty advanced technology, even your large cable companies like Time Warner aren’t doing this system wide. Basically, we’re taking the south end of the county who is behind in some ways and pushing them to the forefront of technology.”

Osborne said he sees the biggest opportunities with the project being for students.

 “It will help school-aged children and a lot of adults who are taking college classes online. This will really open a window of opportunity for them. I’m excited because of the technology,” Osborne said.