Tullahoma News, December 12, 2013
The Tullahoma Utilities Board has repaid nearly $2.2 million in city bond debt since launching its LightTUBe fiber services in January 2009, according to general manager Brian Skelton.
The City of Tullahoma issued $16.9 million in general obligation bonds to TUB in 2007 to deploy fiber-to-the-home telephone, television and Internet services. TUB’s next payment, due in June, will reduce the debt by another $790,000.
“We’ve made interest payments and have already started making our bond payments. Everything has been on time, with no extensions or waivers,” Skelton said in a July podcast interview with Community Broadband Bits’ Christopher Mitchell. “We’ve been cash positive the last two full years and we have now become net income positive.”
Net income during the first four months of fiscal year 2014 is positive at $58,939 and Skelton says he is “100 percent confident” that TUB will continue to be net income positive throughout FY2014.
“We are very proud of the success we’ve had and the growth,” said Skelton.
With LightTUBe Internet services far surpassing national averages for speed and value, there is reason to be proud.
According to the second quarter 2013 “State of the Internet” report released by Akamai Technologies, Inc. in October, the average U.S. Internet connection speed is 8.7 megabit per second (mbps) and only 24 percent of the country’s Internet connections are capable of speeds above 10 mbps.
By comparison, LightTUBe customers who purchased the 20 mbps residential package for $59.95 at launch were receiving internet speeds more than twice what is now the national average as early as January 2009.
Since that time, speeds to all customers, residential and commercial, have been upgraded regularly.
By January 2014, speeds on that residential package will have reached 70 mbps — eight times the national average – without any increase in cost to the customer.
In fact, with speeds so high, the competitive value index on that package is notably low: $0.86 per megabit compared to the national average of $3.80.