​Celebration of Technology Partnership


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
“We welcome our many new friends at Ben Lomand,” said Vice-Chancellor John McCardell at the Nov. 14 ribbon cutting ceremony at duPont Library, celebrating the partnership with the local internet service provider Ben Lomand Connect. “The Ben Lomand connection gives the University redundancy and doubles our available bandwidth.”
When the connection went live in August, Ben Lomand became the University’s second fiber-optics provider.
The story began two years ago when an eight-hour internet service interruption at the University started a conversation about the need for a backup vendor.
McCardell recalled making a trip to Nashville with Monteagle businessman John Greeter to visit Senator Janice Bowling.
Former owner of Monteagle Builders Supply, Greeter’s working relationship with the University developed into a friendship with Vice-Chancellor Joel Cunningham and McCardell, in turn. “I like to help the University out in any way I can,” Greeter said.
A big fan of Ben Lomand, Greeter encouraged the University to consider Ben Lomand for its backup vendor, as did Senator Bowling.
Champion of fiber-optic internet technology and Ben Lomand Connect in particular, Bowling quickly realized “this group needs to meet this group. It was magical when it came together.”
“We had 8,781 devices connected last week,” McCardell said, “and over 4,800 of those were smart devices. There’s clearly a need and it’s clearly being met. Two-thirds of our traffic is now over the Ben Lomand connection.”
“We’re not just providers of service, but true partners,” said Ben Lomand General Manager and CEO Lisa Cope. “If you need us we’ll be there.”
Citing Ben Lomand’s reputation for top of the line service, Ben Lomand Tracy City District Manager Mike Birdwell said, “The University currently has one gigabit of bandwidth, but with just a phone call we can turn it up to 10 gigs.”
Cope hinted at the possible expansion of Ben Lomand fiber-optic service to non-University customers. “This partnership can be very meaningful to the communities around the University, as well.”
“Fiber costs a lot of money to run. We’ve talked about pre-selling,” Birdwell said. “We’d like to move out into the community. The conversation is in the early stages.”
“The University-Ben Lomand relationship is a partnership between a world institution and a world class provider,” Senator Bowling said. “Fiber is to the 21st century what electricity was to the 20th century. Not having fiber is like not having an interstate system. DSL is a pig trail.”