Powell Valley Electric Stifling Rural Broadband Expansion
BRISTOL, VA – As the COVID-19 situation brings increased demands in teleworking, virtual learning and even telehealth, Point Broadband has been busy expanding its fiber network throughout SW Virginia and NE Tennessee to provide fast reliable fiber Internet. However, they have hit a roadblock in areas of Lee County, VA, and Claiborne and Hancock Counties in Tennessee because of Powell Valley Electric Co-op (PVEC).
“We have been operating for the last two years with no issues, expanding our fiber-to-the-home network, offering residents and businesses a better choice for Internet service,” said Joseph Puckett, General Manager for Point Broadband. “Recently, PVEC has forced us to stop our expansion by harassing our technicians in the field as we try to install new customers. They are even preventing us from servicing existing customers in those areas.”
Point Broadband currently serves thousands of customers across the region and has a mission to provide service to the underserved areas of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. Point Broadband acquired Sunset Fiber in 2018 and has been constructing fiber and installing customers in the PVEC area since. Point also pays PVEC for use of utility poles and attachments to serve customers.
“It is very disheartening to tell customers who have requested service that we cannot provide them the crucial Internet connection they need in these uncertain times because a local utility company is protecting its territory from competition,” added Puckett. “All we can do is to encourage folks to call PVEC and request they let Point Broadband continue the expansion that has been underway for the last two years.”
Following are the contact numbers for PVEC:
New Tazewell Office: 423-626-5204
Jonesville Office: 276-346-6003
Sneedville Office: 423-733-2207