KUB’s fiber internet beta testing program delivers free high-speed internet to some East Knoxville homes

The program is a way for KUB to test out its fiber internet systems before they start building the system across Knox County.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Knoxville Utilities Board said they are working to set up a high-speed internet system for the community. As part of the process, they are testing the system in a small part of Knoxville before rolling it out to the rest of their customers.

People who sign up for the beta testing program can effectively get free gigabit fiber internet that has the same upload and download speeds — exceeding the capability of most popular internet plans.

“It was free so I just thought, what the heck? The only choice we have ever had was Comcast, so I signed up,” program participant Suzy Trotta said. “It’s super fast. Again, we are in the trial period so we are helping work the bugs out.”

She said some of the bugs can include websites not loading or being blocked by the server and the Wi-Fi coverage being limited. KUB’s customer service Trotta said, has actively responded to any problems she’s had with the new system.

“They have definitely been the best customer service I’ve ever had from installing the internet,” said Christine Mele, a neighbor of Trotta’s. “We’ve had it go off and on once or twice, and then we’ve been getting about 350 [megabits-per-second]so a little slower than it should be coming in, but they are going to come out and check on it for us.”

KUB set a deadline to finish testing and resolve any system issues by the end of 2023. When they start rolling it out for most of their customers, they said it would help fill a need that the COVID-19 pandemic revealed.

“When people went home to work and learn, there was a lot more need than we were previously privy to,” KUB spokesperson Jay Miller said.

Miller said KUB is planning to expand into more parts of East Knoxville, Arlington, and then the Karns area. Those areas include more than 25,000 customers. After that, Miller said, they plan to work towards Union County, South Knoxville and some areas of Rocky Hill.

By the end of 2023, KUB hopes to have the internet available for around 65,000 customers.

People participating in the beta program right now get the service for free. Once it officially rolls out to customers, the packages would include high-speed gigabit internet, as well as TV and phone service for $65 per month. Anyone curious about whether their address is included in the first phase of the fiber rollout can check online.

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