Activists in Cleveland, Tennessee Oppose Government Owned Network for Broadband Project

Leaders of three citizen groups representing “thousands of conservatives in Cleveland and Bradley County” have sent a letter to the city of Cleveland and its utility department, Cleveland Utilities, announcing their opposition to the city’s proposed multi-million dollar broadband internet service plan.

Currently under review by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Cleveland and Cleveland Utilities have proposed a government-owned broadband network (GON), costing an estimated $72 million.

Through the GON proposal, Cleveland Utilities would pursue implementation of “smart meter” technology across Bradley County, which the activists claim has resulted in “intrusive government thermostat tampering and rolling blackouts in California”

“As conservatives, we believe in a smaller government that is less intrusive to peoples’ lives. This broadband GON is a Trojan horse for a new trend in public utilities called Smart Meters. These are meters that government utilities can control remotely,” the activist leaders wrote in their letter. “That means, in the privacy of one’s own home or business, Cleveland Utilities will be able to control our power usage and even turn our thermostats up or down without asking. Smart meters have been used in places like California to implement Public Safety Power Shutoffs, also known as rolling blackouts. As local conservatives, we are directly opposed to the same kind of big government monitoring and manipulation taking place in California.”

In addition, since 99 percent of Cleveland residents already have access to broadband internet through nine different private providers, the activists said they believe the proposed GON plan is unnecessary as GONs are typically formed in communities with existing internet service providers.

“We are equally opposed to our city government competing with private companies that already provide the same broadband service to our community,” the activists added. “There is simply no need to spend millions of dollars in public funds to dramatically grow a city department to provide a service that is already provided by private industry.”

The activists also argue that the GON proposal would see “city government spending tax dollars and rate payer funds go into competition with the private sector.”

“The implementation of a government owned network will result in the taxpayer holding the bag to pay for a failed government project as well as stifling existing broadband competition in Cleveland. The reality is that by creating a municipal broadband network, you, our elected officials, are flipping a coin in the air,” the activists said.

“We urge you, especially those who claim to uphold Cleveland’s conservative values, to push back against this project and vote no to any legislation pertaining to it,” the activists’ letter said.

The letter was signed by Dan Rawls, founder of Bradley Constitutionalists; Glenda Pappu, organizer for the Tennessee Neighbors for Liberty; and Ted Gleason, treasurer for Advocates for Bradley County.

Read the letter:

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Cleveland, Tennessee” by JonesManagement. CC BY-SA 4.0.



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One Thought to “Activists in Cleveland, Tennessee Oppose Government Owned Network for Broadband Project”

  1. Phyllis West

    Tennessee taxpayers do not want to pay for propaganda. NO