KIMBALL, Tenn. - There has been a growing movement in recent months to change a state law that restricts some high-speed Internet providers from bringing fiber-optic technology to rural areas like Marion County.
Now, Kimball is joining the crusade.
The Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously last week in favor of a resolution requesting state legislators to revisit the law.
The Marion County Commission approved a similar declaration last month.
"I think it would be a good thing for the town of Kimball, too," Mayor Rex Pesnell said.
City Attorney Billy Gouger, who is also the county's attorney, said the resolution seeks support from Rep. Billy Spivey, R-Lewisburg, and Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma.
It asks them to enact legislation in upcoming legislative sessions that will make it "easier and more convenient" for providers to extend fiber-optic cable throughout Kimball and the county.
"It is a situation where there are providers out there who would like to extend fiber-optic cable and high-speed Internet-type systems throughout our county," Gouger said. "The simple fact is, right now, our state laws make that really difficult to do, if not impossible."
County Mayor David Jackson has asked Gouger to forward Kimball's resolution to all the municipalities in the county for consideration.
He said he appreciates Kimball's support and hopes the other towns will adopt it as well.
High-speed Internet access is "very important" for the entire county, said Jackson.
"It would, hopefully, give us another edge in getting new industry and other businesses to our county," he said. "It [quality Internet access] is very vital. We've got some industries now that are really struggling because they have limited Internet access."
Gouger said commercial and industrial developments are making high-speed Internet access a "requirement" for setting up shop in rural areas like Marion now.
"If we can't get those types of things throughout our county, it's going to disqualify us from some future growth," he said. "That's the whole purpose of this resolution."
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis firstname.lastname@example.org.