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Water tower displaying the town name, "Pleasant Hill"

News and ViewsSeptember 13, 2023

Rural Expansion Brings Broadband to Pleasant Hill

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Spectrum’s commitment to rural expansion has touched a small town in Tennessee. Connectivity was made possible through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and is changing lives. 

The town of Pleasant Hill is a rural community in Tennessee located between Knoxville to the east and Nashville to the west. Heading west on Highway 70 from nearby Crossville, the hustle and bustle of city traffic quickly fades. It’s easy to miss the turnoff for East Main Street, the main thoroughfare through Pleasant Hill, population 540.  

Either side of the two-lane road is predominantly farmland with fields of crops that rise up to touch the horizon, and harmonize with the occasional house, livestock, farm tractor, pond or barn. But there is something new to the landscape — 28 miles of newly constructed Spectrum gigabit broadband, part of the company’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund expansion and approximately $5 billion RDOF-related investment in unserved rural communities. It’s delivered newfound educational and business opportunity, say residents, and in one case a lifeline to accurate weather data. 

“Our dedicated construction team, engineers and technicians worked hard to bring the 28 miles of fiber to life,” said Charlie Agius, Spectrum Regional Vice President. “Spectrum’s broadband investment is life-changing for rural areas like Pleasant Hill, not only for their economy, healthcare and education, but for community safety and peace of mind.”

Safer Students and Townspeople Made Possible by Connectivity

In 2021, students at the K-8 school were boarding school buses for dismissal when a tornado struck the town; an EF-0 hit the area with 85 mph winds and carved a nearly 6-mile path of destruction before it weakened and dissipated.

“It tore the canopy off of the school, with zero warning,” said Pleasant Hill Mayor Don Dowdey. While only minor injuries were reported, the twister left the community with a heightened vigilance when storm clouds appear, and a renewed focus on high-speed broadband — because for years, gaps in weather radar didn’t allow for early severe weather warnings to give people additional time to get to a place of safety.  

A company called Climavision had capability to fill those radar gaps and provide that information to emergency management entities, governments and media organizations that have weather forecasts— but the company needed a fiber connection and was looking for a provider in Pleasant Hill. Spectrum Business senior account executive Josh Palmer learned of Climavision’s need and facilitated the connectivity with the construction and field operations teams. Climavision’s radar now sits atop the water tower in Pleasant Hill.  

“The rural broadband from Spectrum enables us to move massive quantities of data from our radar back to our backend infrastructure to provide a critical service to the community,” said Chris Goode, co-founder and CEO of Climavision. “Without Spectrum high-speed connectivity, we could not have installed our radar and closed the low-level data void in the area. With the necessary connection in place, we were able to get data turned on immediately and ultimately put life-saving tools in the hands of public safety officials for more informed decision-making.”

A Broadband Expansion Project Takes Form

Spectrum bucket truck parked by an old barn in Pleasant Hill
Spectrum crews were a welcome site in rural Pleasant Hill, Tenn. as 28 miles of gigabit broadband were constructed.


In late fall 2021, Spectrum crews walked miles across Pleasant Hill to count unserved locations. By walking the rural community, teams could assess the geography and address any challenging terrain that ultimately helped engineers design the best possible network route. After appropriate permits were obtained, construction took place. 

Mile after each mile, the fiber was strung throughout the Pleasant Hill community and in November of 2022 gigabit broadband light filled the network, helping connect the community.

Mayor Dowdey admits it was exciting seeing the flurry of Spectrum trucks on the roads and crews installing the lines in anticipation of getting the new service with speeds starting at 300 Mbps. “The town hall was one of the first places to switch,” said Dowdey. “That's certainly made it easier for us to do everything from maintaining our Facebook page and website to doing our internet banking. We can participate in Zoom conferences all over.”  

Spectrum connectivity has even saved the town money. With a strong internet connection, Pleasant Hill’s maintenance crews were able to comparison-shop and purchase equipment. Additionally, Spectrum connectivity has fostered new economic opportunities for local businesses.  

High-Speed Broadband at Linda’s Coffee Shop Fosters Connectivity

Linda of Linda's Coffee Shop
Sandy Wilson now serves her daily specials with a side of high-speed internet at Linda's Coffee Shop.


At the center of town visitors can find Linda’s Coffee Shop. A staple of Pleasant Hill for 42 years, manager Sandy Wilson has worked at the family run business much of her life, and oversees the operation for her mother, the restaurant’s namesake.  

She previously had to rely on a cellular internet service – and has welcomed the connectivity Spectrum offers for her credit card paying customers. “It is definitely more high speed than what we had; we can depend on it,” said Wilson. “With Spectrum you swipe it and you're ready to go.”

She can now focus more time on posting her daily specials to her social media platforms and visiting with her local restaurant patrons.

Delivering Milk the New Old-fashioned Way

Cows being milked at a dairy facility
Sunrise Dairy crafts specialty dairy products and relies on connectivity for sales.


Tim Mast has been milking cows for more than 35 years. In 2016, he purchased a farm in Pleasant Hill and created Sunrise Dairy.  

He began bottling milk, crafting specialty ice cream and dairy products at the family run farm, and selling it to area stores and residents just like the milkman from days gone by. As his dairy operation expanded so did his need for technology and connectivity. Slow speeds were causing delays in his employees’ ability to deliver milk to area residents and receive payment.

“We started out with cellular internet service and as everybody got on, it went south and it got very slow,” said Mast. “It got frustrating. I couldn't do my bookwork with QuickBooks anymore.” Mast said he was forced to use his cellular internet service late at night, but that impeded his ability to spend time with his family or sleep.  

It wasn’t long before Mast noticed lines being run across the street. Spectrum’s rural expansion had reached his farm and store. 

Josh Palmer, the Spectrum Business senior account executive, paid Mast a visit. Josh saw Tim’s frustration with his internet service and took time to explain that more people online using cellular internet depletes the speed — but speeds with Spectrum would be much faster. The dairy was soon online.  

“I grew up in a rural area near Pleasant Hill and understand the impact connectivity makes,” said Palmer. “I always want to leave a customer better than when I found them. More importantly, I want to take care of my neighbors and the community where I live.”

Mast is ecstatic about the speeds and enjoys doing his bookwork now that he doesn’t have to worry about the “spinning wheel” on his screen. “I go home quicker because my work's done,” said Mast.  “I can come in anytime I want to. I don't have to worry about slow speeds.”

Spectrum’s connectivity and speeds also have given him options when it comes to growing his business. He is currently developing an e-commerce website where his customers can place orders online. 

The Impact of Broadband

Mayor Dowdey looks at the emerging growth of family-run Sunrise Dairy as just the beginning for the small rural community.  

“A lot of people are wanting to move out of the cities and need high-speed internet to do what they do,” said Dowdey. “Before we've not been a destination town for that, but now we are. Everybody is happy about being able to do things like stream their TV, have health appointments, do calls with their kids and grandkids. All of that is just improving quality of life. This is a nice community to live in. It's small, friendly, and, beautiful.”

The rural town with no stoplight may be small, but traffic is now buzzing at light speed with internet traffic.

To learn more about Charter’s commitment to expanding broadband access, click here.