The Tennessee Broadband Task Force was established in 2006 to determine the availability of broadband internet services in the state. Its initial report, in January 2007, showed that only 25% of households had adopted the service. It also found that broadband service normally came through local telephone and cable television providers, recommending increased competition from other internet providers. The final recommendation was for a public-private partnership to develop a statewide plan, which resulted in the launch of non-profit organization Connected Tennessee.
The first map was released by Connected Tennessee in July 2007, showing high speed internet service availability across the state. This indicated that 86-90% of households could access the service but only 43% actually used it. A separate survey at the time showed 12% of households still got dial-up from their ISP. The main purpose of the map is to enable an internet provider to identify where service is needed. An updated map in July 2009 raised the usage figure to 54%. The Speed Matters 2009 survey put the state in 16th position with an average download speed of 5.8 mbps, down two places from 2008 when the speed was 5.0 mbps.
The state was awarded $1.8 million in December 2009 to help with mapping and planning. Tennessee had also applied for funding to extend broadband infrastructure, provide public computer centers and sustainable adoption.
A separate application from DigitalBridge Communications is for over $100 million to provide wireless internet access to around 600,000 households across 69 counties using WiMax technology. AT&T invested $62 million in its 3G network in 2008 while Verizon Wireless spent $430 million between 2003 and 2006. Alltel Wireless expanded its next generation EVDO technology service across several counties in 2008, claiming speeds comparable to DSL and cable, although less than fiber optic cable. Nevertheless, wifi hotspots remain clustered around the main urban areas, with big gaps elsewhere.
The state was home to several colorful characters, including Davy Crockett, Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston. It is renowned for its music, as the birthplace of country music, the blues and rock and roll.
Summers tend to be hot while winters are mild to cool. Around 59% of Tennessee's 82,000 farms have some beef cattle and major outputs include textiles and cotton. Memphis is the largest city and Nashville, the state capital, is second. Next are Knoxville and Chattanooga.
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Cities in Tennessee likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Clarksville and Murfreeboro. Locations in TN with highest population counts will be targeted first by providers, though relatively high speeds can be achieved with dial-up or DSL through companies such as Netzero and Charter Communications Cable.