KUB is rolling out fiber optic internet. When will you get it?
About 25,000 homes could get fiber optic Internet from the Knoxville Utilities Board by the end of the year, and another 35,000 homes will get access in 2023.
KUB’s newest service is part of an effort to modernize the utility’s network and provide an affordable option in East Tennessee, Jamie Davis, vice president of fiber and chief technology officer, told Knox News.
You may have already heard that some residents are getting early access to the service. The 210,000 households that get their electricity from KUB will have Internet access, probably within the next six years.
Eventually, thousands of East Tennessee households will have Internet access for the first time.
Advocates say utility fiber is a business recruiting tool, an educational leg up for students and a digital equalizer for underserved and underserved communities.
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The Internet rollout will affect all KUB customers, as the utility board estimated last year that rates for customers receiving electricity from KUB would increase by 3% annually from 2022-2025.
“(What) we want to say is we’re going to provide the fastest internet in the region with the friendliest customer service, and that’s for everybody,” Davis said. “It’s not about servicing profitable spaces.”
Do you want KUB internet? Here’s what you need to know about when you can get it and what you’ll pay.
When can I register for KUB Internet?
If you are a KUB electricity customer, you will eventually be able to sign up for KUB fiber optic internet.
KUB is rolling out internet service in stages, so the exact date you will receive it will vary.
KUB launched a pilot program in July with about 250 clients in small areas of Knoxville’s north and east sections.
“I call (the pilot) a soft launch for the restaurant,” Davis said. “It’s a new product for us. So while we have experience with the technology, we won’t be sure it’s good before that grand opening, but we’re very close to it.”
Districts that already have access due to the pilot program.
- Lincoln Park
- Five points
- Morning side
- Park City
It is expected that the districts will have access to KUB Internet by the end of the year.
- Cumberland Estates
- Greenwood Heights
- Wooded acres
- Fair Oaks
- Nice mountain range
Some of the dozens of districts expected to gain access to KUB Internet by early 2023;
- Greenwood Forest
- Highland Park
- Villa Gardens
- Harrill Hills
- Parts of Union and Granger counties
Not sure if your home qualifies? A visit kub.org/fiber:, and click the “check availability” button. Enter your address to see if your home is still eligible.
If your address still doesn’t match, you can sign up for updates.
Customers will only be able to register online once their district is eligible. Davis said it will take about two to three weeks before the Internet is up and running as each neighborhood connects to the network.
Davis said wait times will decrease as KUB grows its workforce.
Spreading Internet access is based on two things: where some of KUB’s existing electrical infrastructure is located and which neighborhoods have the greatest need for affordable Internet.
“We know where we need those improvements,” Davis said. “One of the big reasons we prioritized the Rocky Hill area is because we know it’s an area that doesn’t have the best electrical reliability.”
KUB received A $15 million grant from the State of Tennessee provide access in parts of Jefferson, Granger, Sevier and Union counties.
How much does KUB Internet cost and how fast is it?
KUB will offer three different speeds at three prices. All plans are unlimited, meaning you won’t experience slowdowns after using a certain amount of data. There are no contracts, promotional offers or setup fees, so the price on your bill is consistent.
- The Gig. 1 Gbps upload and download speeds, $65 per month. Best for homes with an average amount of appliances. Davis said the two-hour movie will download in about three minutes, and you won’t see the “spinning wheel of death” while streaming.
- The Gig 2.5. 2.5 Gbps upload and download speeds, $150 per month. The plan is for the “end gamer,” or someone running computer programs that require more bandwidth, Davis said.
- The Gig 10: 10 Gbps upload and download speeds, $300 per month. Davis said most people won’t need that much, but if they do, “holy mom, if you need me, I want to come up to your house.”
Additional equipment and services, such as TV services (for an additional monthly fee starting at $43), and an HBO subscription and Amazon Firestick, can be connected to your Internet service, according to the KUB website.
Will internet be included on my KUB electricity bill?
Your KUB Internet account will be separate.
KUB said research has shown customers don’t want a long, confusing bill.
This separate bill will show the flat rate you pay for Internet each month with no additional fees, Davis said, and will be separate from your water and electric bills to avoid confusion.
Davis said if customers don’t pay their electric bill, they don’t have to worry about their internet being shut off.
Who do I call when I need help with KUB Internet?
If you’re having Internet problems and need help, call 865-524-2911, the same KUB number you would if you had questions or concerns about your electricity, water or gas.
Davis said the phone menu has been updated and people can now select help for the Internet.
The addition of the new utility also adds more phone calls and service people to deal with customer issues as they arise. But KUB is ready for it. Davis said KUB plans to hire about 200 new employees between call center and service positions.
Customer service is a high priority, Davis said.
“I challenge our team every day to deliver the Internet products they want in their homes,” Davis said. “Always on, always fast, no spinning wheel death. That’s our goal.”
Many areas of the county and East Tennessee don’t have many options to choose from. According to the Federal Communications Commission, about 46% of Knox County residents have access to 1 gigabit fiber internet.
Of the 53% of county residents who have access to any fiber internet service, only 2% will choose between multiple providers.
KUB serves customers in Knox, Union and Grainger counties.