How Clarksville became Arkansas’ First Two-Gigabit City - Episode 506 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by John Lester, General Manager of Clarksville Connected. The two discuss how Clarksville, a small rural community of about 10,000 in northwest Arkansas at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, became the Natural State’s first 2 gig city.

Chris and John cover how Clarksville became the first city in Arkansas to issue bonds to build a municipal broadband network and how the city was able to navigate the state’s anti-municipal broadband preemption laws to provide its residents and businesses with reliable and affordable high-speed Internet connectivity.

They also discuss how the city was able to quickly build out the network before the onset of the pandemic and has reached a take-rate that surpassed initial projections. They go on to highlight the impact the network has had on powering economic development and boosting the local real estate market, while also exploring how the city worked with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide free connectivity to low-income residents living in affordable housing units.

This show is 29 minutes long and can be played on this page or via Apple Podcasts or the tool of your choice using this feed

Transcript below. 

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.


John Lester (00:07):

The housing market's just crazy. Who would've thought in Clarksville, Arkansas, you put a home on, on the market and it sells for $50,000 more in the asking price the day you put it on the market. And I think having connectivity with the rest of the world at, at high speeds is making a difference.

Christopher Mitchell (00:23):

Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. I'm Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in St. Paul, Minnesota. Today I'm speaking with John Lester, someone who's been on this show multiple times. The general manager from Clarksville Connected Utilities. Welcome back.

John Lester (00:44):

Thank you very much. It's always an honor to be on your podcast.

Christopher Mitchell (00:48):

There's there's many, there's many Clarksville, and this is the one in northwest Arkansas. It's the most beautiful one, I'm sure, with the best people, right?

John Lester (00:58):

Oh, absolutely. We're right here on the foothills of the Ozark Mountains and there's plenty of outdoor recreation to do. And, and we're right on I 40 too, so you can get in and out pretty quick.

Christopher Mitchell (01:09):

Yeah. I seem to recall you had a, you when we talked in the previous episode, you talked about a billboard you put up about your internet service. Is that right?

John Lester (01:16):

We did. We put up a billboard on I 40 and we said we were the first two gig city.

Christopher Mitchell (01:21):

Excellent. You are. Well, let, let's just start with how big is Clarksville?

John Lester (01:25):

Okay. Clarksville is a population of about 10,000. So again, in the, in the northwest corner of the state, you know, pretty rural

Christopher Mitchell (01:32):

And you have a municipal utility that used to be Clarksville Light and Water, but then you added fiber and, and what'd you get?

John Lester (01:40):

What, what we did was we wanted to, we, we felt like we'd done some innovative things. And so we, for example we have two solar power plants and we have enough solar power that we can say we're the first city in Arkansas whose municipal needs and met a hundred percent with renewable solar power. And of course, we, we built the fiber network and we felt like we were forward leaning and, and wanted to kind of rebrand ourselves. So we changed it from Clarksville Light and water to Clarksville connected. So I, I think it tells a different message.

Christopher Mitchell (02:09):

Excellent. And you started off, I think, a, a bit incrementally, right? But you have since fan out across the entire city.

John Lester (02:17):

Yes, absolutely. We really started years ago building a core network and the primary reason for was to provide SCADA services, in other words, the internet of things for utility so we could touch and feel and monitor and manage our utility infrastructure. And it just made sense at the time to build plenty of extra capacity knowing that there are other services you could deliver over it. And so we migrated from, you know, building that core to starting to light up anchor institutions. At this point in time pretty much all of the local anchor institutions are on our network in some fashion. That'd be the, the library, the hospital, the city. We have a University of the Ozarks, which is a liberal arts college here town. They're on the network in our school district. and then beyond that is, okay, what else could we do to serve the community?


So we did our research and, and homework and business case related to fiber to the home. And it all looked good. So we, we ended up being the first city in Arkansas that, that issued balance to build out a network. In fact you know, historically Arkansas had its share of laws that prohibited municipals from doing this. municipal electrics had the ability to do that, but there was still uncertainty about even if municipal electrics had pro build and provide the network where they could issue debt for it. So we were the first one to kind of break that ice. Issued the debt in early 2019, and we started construction in October of 2019. We did a project that we thought was gonna take three or four years, and our entire distribution system, you know, and we've got about 4,500 customers or meters.


Our entire distribution system was built out in a year. We started in October of 19, and it was built out by October of 2020. And we did more of a design build process that I think expedited it. And we created I think pretty valuable partnerships. For example, we used Graybar for most of our equipment outside plant equipment, and we leveraged their national procurement program that way we could sole source from one, one supplier. I think that ex expedited it a lot. And, you know, in today's world of supply chain issues, they kind of managed all that for us.

Christopher Mitchell (04:34):

Yeah, I was thinking that your timing was really spot on. I mean, to, to have finished that project early Right. In time for a time when a lot of people would need it in their homes and to, to now be in a position where you're not trying to procure a whole lot of material, that's pretty nice.

John Lester (04:48):

Yeah. Well, the good news is the supply chains were nearly as a bunch of a problem then, but we didn't get all the money, you know, we had to issue debt for it. Sure. That's, that's the downside. But we had the distribution system done and we already had enough orders that we had over a thousand drops done in the first year. and we're at the point now where we've got, we have totally installed 1600 locations out of about 4300, 4500 meters. So that would be what, 37% of the drops, the potential drops are, are done. And of course there's always, always gonna be a little turnover, but we are actively billing 33% of our customers after what, two years of being able to do drops. And I, I think that's pretty incredible.

Christopher Mitchell (05:34):

Yes, that's definitely the path to success. I'm, I'm curious, is it, is it challenging? one of the things that we hear is that the kind of economies of scale that make it, you know, it is never easy obviously, but that make it a little bit less difficult kick in kind of, you know, around 4,000, 5,000 subs and, you know, if you get the entire town, you're still just gonna be scratching up against that.

John Lester (05:57):

I think the economics work better than they did five years ago. We thought that our business case would work at about a 20% take rate. we planned on at the end of year three or four 30%. And we think that a 50% take rate against our 4500, 4300 customers is gonna be, you know, pretty good. I wouldn't be surprised if we get up to 70 eventually.

Christopher Mitchell (06:19):

That is something that we've seen. And particularly, I mean the, the kind of demographics that you have in a region like that, people are really gonna value that local service mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, unless, unless you do something really dumb you know, what we see is people only disconnect if they go toes up or they leave town. Right. So well, yeah. In fact of our customers who have disconnected the hundred 80, most of 'em have just moved. Right? And one thing that we know we need to get better at is recognizing those homes that we've already connected. When the people move, we're ready for that next person to come in. And we do that, you know, as municipal utilities, we're not good cross sellers.



John Lester (06:55):

We need to recognize that opportunity and say, Hey, we're already at your house. You know, we're just getting almost assumed the sale, but we'll, we'll get better at that. You know, we're rural Arkansas and so you could consider our community economically challenged when you look at the number of kids or families that have free and reduced lunches at school. But here's the interesting thing is our business case, we anticipated that our slowest package, the 100 symmetrical package would be the highest would be about a 65% rate. And the gig package of the four packages would only be about 5%. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, when we've taken out the special network that we did just for the housing authority, cuz they have a special network, 41% ordered the 100 package, and we're at 23% for the gig package. Wow.

Christopher Mitchell (07:45):

That is interesting. That is definitely a switch from several years ago.

John Lester (07:49):

Yeah. I mean that, it just kind of blows my mind that

Christopher Mitchell (07:52):

We see that, we see that with the electric co-ops too in many cases. I, I feel like can you tell us what are the, what is, what do you charge for those different price points?

John Lester (08:00):

It's about $45 for the, the 100 meg package, and it goes up to $90 for the gig.

Christopher Mitchell (08:06):

Right. So, you know, it's a reasonable price for a gig. I, I pay more than that for my supposed gig from Comcast, so Right. You know, <laugh>.

John Lester (08:13):

Well, and you know, if you're a homeowner and you're doing the economics, okay, I can cut the cord and now I'm not paying the big cable bill and I can get, you know, smarter in what I stream and you end up having net savings.

Christopher Mitchell (08:25):

Yeah. And I feel like it's also the case that if you like the people you're doing business with, you're more willing to give them a little bit more money. Like when they know that there's not, like, they're gonna get a letter from you in 12 months that says, Hey, we just added 5% under your bill because we can, you know, <laugh>, they're more like,

John Lester (08:40):

Yeah, oh, oh, my service went out, so I'll be on hold for four hours

Christopher Mitchell (08:44):

In four hours. They could walk down and, and, and you know, get your attention,

John Lester (08:48):

<laugh>. Oh yeah. Yeah. They'll, they'll see us at Walmart or they'll walk through the door. Yeah, we'll, we'll definitely it, it's almost amazing. We get quicker responses on internet outages and sometimes we do electric outages now.

Christopher Mitchell (08:59):

Wow. Yeah.

John Lester (09:00):

Facebook lights up pretty fast, that's for sure.

Christopher Mitchell (09:02):

My one, someone I do a different show with connect this show with Travis a local fiber, ISP he talks about how at 10 years ago of like, there was a, you know, the, the network go down for 10 minutes, you know, no one would really notice it. They'd be doing their email, they'd do something else. They'd be like, oh, like they just, you know, now if it goes down for 10 seconds, people are, people are checking in already.

John Lester (09:23):

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. One of the things we're getting ready to do this summer, I mentioned that we've connected the, all the anchor institutions. The school district has its own dedicated pair in our ring, our 288 core ring. And they're gonna upgrade their transport between their buildings on our network from 40 gigs to a hundred gigs Wow. This summer. So they're, they're really gonna be screaming for sure. And that, that's gonna be a fun, fun project.

Christopher Mitchell (09:46):

I'm curious, I mean, I, that school district can't be that large given those, is it, is it because like they're moving around a ton of video. Like, I feel like schools do a lot of surveillance video now and they really need to keep track of that for any sort of incidents. At least that's what I hear from some cities.

John Lester (10:00):

Well, I, I think they're doing more and more of surveillance video, but I think they're doing a lot of online education video, YouTube videos and things of that sort. And pretty much every student in Clarksville is connected in that network in some fashion with an iPad or, you know, type of laptop. So they, they've really done a pretty good job of, you know, moving towards technology. So there's, there's a pretty big demand. Yeah, for

Christopher Mitchell (10:25):

Sure. I believe it. The I was just, it was something that definitely caught, caught up with me, just cuz I think you always wonder how it is. I, my son is is six and he is just, we're just getting into this school system, you know, he's in kindergarten this year. And I just remember someone said something that I probably never forget, which was that the situation is now that if there's an altercation between a student and a teacher in that district, so the first thing the parents always say is, show me the video <laugh>. They wanna see the video before they

John Lester (10:51):

<laugh>. Yeah, exactly.

Christopher Mitchell (10:52):

Exactly. so you mentioned low income network with the housing folks. what's going on there?

John Lester (11:00):

Well, what happened was when the first tranche of dollars came down related to covid I can't, the CARES Act, I think maybe was the first term that they used HUD spread out some money related to the housing authorities. And what they wanted to do is really do something that would be long-term impactful with some of their dollars. So they gave us a call and said, Hey, can we figure out a way to work together and we can get connectivity to our you know, dwelling units at some type of reasonable price. So what we ended up doing is taking some of their CARES Act money and essentially prepaying us build out a network that's dedicated to their 173 dwelling units. So being able to have those funds up front reduced what that 100 meg per customer cost was gonna be by about $15 a month. And in return, they agreed to basically pay for those internet services for all our residents. So we think that we addressed some of the economically challenged areas in a, in a logical way with funds that were a good use for those funds.

Christopher Mitchell (12:08):

And are these primarily mdu u multi-family situations or were they some single family homes as well?

John Lester (12:15):

Most MD used, but they had three different locations, so spread out around the community. So we built networks with spokes to each one of those those units. And then

Christopher Mitchell (12:25):

Did you connect the individual units directly then for each one?

John Lester (12:29):

Yes, we did.

Christopher Mitchell (12:30):

That's wonderful. Cuz we're, I, I keep watching is, and I think, you know, there's, there's defensible reasons for why some people do it, but I'm deeply concerned about the wifi in the hallways and its ability to solve this issue long term.

John Lester (12:43):

Yeah. Now every customer has its own router gateway in their dwelling unit, so it's all separated out.

Christopher Mitchell (12:50):

The one of the challenges that we've heard about that is just the turnover can be such, and people are the thing we've heard is that ISPs will be with talking about the housing unit folks to say, all right, who's managing the gear that's there in the unit to make sure people know whether to leave it behind if they're moving on or, or something else. How, how do you handle that to avoid it bogging you down too much?

John Lester (13:12):

Well, in this particular case the, the units aren't really big in size, so that gateway covers a pretty decent square footage in that unit. But we literally put it behind a a clear locked in case, so we know it's gonna stay. So, I mean, they, they have to make a special effort to take it with them.

Christopher Mitchell (13:31):

Right. Well, and I feel like that's the thing, right? Is that like, it's not like these things have a value if someone had a nefarious interest, but like, it's just confusion of like, I don't know if I take this thing with me or not. I'm, do I need it to have internet at the next place I go? So,

John Lester (13:43):

Right, right. So that, that's why we put it behind a clear locked case. I mean, it's, it's obvious that it's in there, but you know, you're gonna have Tory it open and take it mm-hmm.

Christopher Mitchell (13:51):

<affirmative>. and also it prevents them from putting it into a lead lined closet and then complaining their wifi doesn't work very well.

John Lester (13:58):

<laugh>. Yes, exactly. Exactly.

Christopher Mitchell (14:01):

how are things going in terms of, of economic development? I I think one of the things that we talked about before is that you've been seeing a good influx of growth because you have a pretty low cost of living in a pretty beautiful area.

John Lester (14:13):

Covid o's changed everything for all of us. Okay. I think we've had a significant number of people moving from metropolitan areas California, Illinois. I mean, some of the response for people getting into a more rural simple life is real. The housing market's just crazy. Who would've thought in Clarksville, Arkansas? you put a home on, on the market and it sells for $50,000 more in the asking price the day you put it on the market. I mean, that, that would've been inconceivable two years ago. And it's just the pressure of people relocating here. And I, and I think having connectivity with the rest of the world at, at high speeds is making a difference.

Christopher Mitchell (14:56):

When I assume that that kind of area you're having green fields and new developments coming in do you put in the infrastructure yourself? Do you require the developers to do that? How do you handle that?

John Lester (15:07):

If the developer's gonna be putting in a subdivision, we would require them to do it. you know, we would have them put in all the conduit just like we would for electric or water and everything, and then turn it over to us. They would do it at our specs. But if it's an individual home here and there, we typically just do it and not necessarily charge. We'll have a water tap fee or sewer fee, but electric and fiber, it's just included.

Christopher Mitchell (15:29):

We've made a big deal. We were really excited when the Arkansas legislature decided on a unanimous basis. You, you noted that they changed the law. I mean, it's, it was really quite remarkable. I mean, it's, and maybe you can, I don't know how close you follow the legislature, but it seemed like it was like two years before I remember it was a senator I remember her first name, Brianne, I think

John Lester (15:50):

She's a state senator, and she's in Russellville, which is maybe 15 minutes to the East. Brianna Davis.

Christopher Mitchell (15:56):

That's right, Davis. And so she and the Republican Women's Senate Caucus, I believe really advanced this thing. They were looking around and said, wow, like we're trying to drive people online for, for Medicaid. We're doing this different stuff and there's all these people, there's entire counties where people basically don't have service. And, and they pushed through and it felt like the industry kind of hijacked that bill and they modified it so that you could do, if you got a grant, then cities would have some more authority. And, and that was still, it was still pretty cool to see some progress in terms of giving cities more authority. But then I think it was two years later they came forward again and they just got rid of almost all the restrictions and did it without a single dissenting vote. That was really remarkable.

John Lester (16:41):

It was stunning. And, and I just think it's because so many people have called and questioned for so long the lack of service and the lack of response from the incumbents that even the legislators were fed up. They, they just said, you know, this needs to be done. We don't care how it's getting done. So it, it was a great thing.

Christopher Mitchell (17:02):

So has that changed any thoughts that you have? I mean, are you getting more phone calls from other cities that are saying, Hey, we have this authority, we're not really sure if we wanna do anything, but like someone's gotta do something?

John Lester (17:14):

I know number of discussions have been had at the municipal league level. I've gotten a few calls, a few tours where it's changed it for us is plus the ARPA funds coming down is the ability to partner with some of the cities around us and then build outside in the county area that may not be served by us electrically. It might be served by an investor on utility that has no intention of building a fiber network to 'em. So that's where we're starting to look at ARPA money and some of the state grant programs, they're supposed to get another tranche of the ARPA money this summer at the state level. And we intend to put in some applications for grant money to build out to a couple towns around us in, in the rural area, behind around us as well.

Christopher Mitchell (17:57):

Well, and that's interesting that you have particularly investor owned utilities around you, because I know there's a lot of electric co-ops in Arkansas and many of them are doing really good work to get folks connected.

John Lester (18:08):

We have an electric co-op that has started a for-profit division called Wave Rural Connect. they're on the northern part of the county, but there's an investor on utility on the southern part of the county. So, and us kind of sitting in the middle so it doesn't make sense to duplicate services and compete. So we're just looking at the OG and E area.

Christopher Mitchell (18:30):

Sure. And is there any, I feel like the, the biggest challenge that obviously from your perspective, it's it's as long as you can keep the risk low, particularly with those grant funds, it's really great cuz then you're spreading those fixed costs more widely and, and everyone in the community benefits the region benefits. absolutely. But sometimes there's politics that creep into it. <laugh>.

John Lester (18:51):

Oh, never, never, never. Yes. I, I think that there's some definitely economies of scale because we've already built the, the fundamental pieces to, to drive a network. One of the things that I'm seriously looking at is what would some of these communities have done a hundred years ago if they created their own electric utility? You know, this is the exact same thought process. so what we might consider is working with the other communities and say, Hey, after a certain period of time, maybe you could buy and own this infrastructure yourself. So, so now you've got another revenue source that you don't have to rely on sales tax or property taxes for just like you would an electric utility. So, and, and there's ways, I mean, if they're smaller and they don't feel like they've got the IT capability they can still own the outside plant and then we might be able to provide the services over it. So there's a lot of different options. We just need to get even small communities to really understand that there is no box anymore. It's not think outside the box, it's, there is no box

Christopher Mitchell (19:52):

<laugh>. Excellent. Well, I'm glad to hear that those conversations are happening because you know, we view this as a, a major opportunity to permanently solve the problem. Kind of like you said, I mean it would've been pretty frustrating if we didn't connect everyone to electricity <laugh>, you know, <laugh>,

John Lester (20:09):

Imagine that. So, and you know, once the fiber's in, it's just a matter of swapping out the electronics and, and doing the right upgrades cuz you know, it doesn't have the same limitations as some of the other technology we're seriously consider. We, when we built the network, we built it ready for XGS pollen, so that ting gig service. So it's just a matter of time before we decide to migrate up to that next speed.

Christopher Mitchell (20:34):

Are you, so you're using GPON currently?

John Lester (20:36):

We are using G P O N currently. Yes. And

Christopher Mitchell (20:38):

You're able to to do some interesting, I don't know what electronics you're using, but to offer two gigabit speeds. typically it would require just so people have a sense, you've got like 32 customers, well probably like 29, 30 customers on a, on a split.

John Lester (20:54):

Yeah. We've got 14 different pawn cabinets, which are basically like substations and each splitter is, it's a one by 32 split.

Christopher Mitchell (21:03):

And so they're sharing 2.5 gigabits. So then you're basically able to have, if if one person's just really trying to scream, then as long as other folks aren't doing it at the same time, then they'll get that.

John Lester (21:15):

Right. And, and when we were doing the the quality control we need to make, we wanted to make sure that we have the wavelengths tight enough that it would be able to meet that, that speed. So, you know, we've done all the, the things that we think we need to do in order to, we won't have to forklift it in order to go to a higher speed.

Christopher Mitchell (21:33):

So last question then I think is, is this sense of, I'm, I'm always curious, you know, what's, what are some of the fun stories or, you know, if you have any horror stories. those are, people love those too, but, but also get, you know, people stop you in the grocery store or, or stop you at the post office to, to just like tell you something interesting they're doing with the network or how excited they are to have it.

John Lester (21:51):

One consistent thing is when can I have it? I want it today. You know, it is just the, the managing the expectations as you're building this thing out. Some of the cool things that have happened with it is we have a customer here that is renting in a, in a business district and he literally flies a drone that does electric pole inspections in California

Christopher Mitchell (22:16):


John Lester (22:17):

So, you know, that's a pretty cool thing. Most of the customers, I think that they're, they're really pleased with the service. You can't make everybody happy, but I think they're very pleased with the service. you know, to, to have turned up and have actively billing 33% of our customer base in, you know, two years is pretty incredible. And I, I just have had nothing but positive more or less.

Christopher Mitchell (22:43):

When people, when people ask you when they can have it, is that because there's a, a waiting list that you're working your way through? Or what's the reason?

John Lester (22:50):

Yes. I mean, when we first started doing the drops, we had a huge waiting list and it's just, it's, you know, for the most part it's, we live in an inpatient society, we all want it today. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and it can't happen that fast

Christopher Mitchell (23:04):

If you wanna do a good job. I'm guessing your techs can do like two or three a day on average, right?

John Lester (23:08):

To Yeah, they're doing three or four day. Okay. And, and you know, because of the world we live in today, we always send two texts so we're not just doing one because, you know, there's liability and concerns there and safety concerns. So yeah, it, we can do three or four day and it takes a while. So we've I I think it's really helped to build some of the partnerships that we have. we've got a local entity that's done some of our sub outside plant work and they've done some of our drop work and, you know, the partnership with Graybar, I mean, it's, it's great not to have to worry about all those little piece parts for the year. I mean, every week we'd have a meeting and we'd say, what do we need? And they'd go and get it and, and they actually had small trailers where they inventoried the material right here in town. So we were checking in and out and, and we didn't get delayed by any material. I, I know that's not the world we live in today, but that's the way it was then. That's how we did it so fast.

Christopher Mitchell (24:03):

Well, I, I hope that you'll be able to, to continue that as you work with your neighbors <laugh> to expand and you don't just get yourself a big old headache as you're trying to help others.

John Lester (24:11):

Well, using the community I think it's called Omnia program, it gets you out of, you know, having to bid every single component. Having it there when you need it is way cheaper. Even if com pay a little bit more per unit than not having it there until the contractor's, well we don't have anything for you to do today cuz you're still gonna get billed for it.

Christopher Mitchell (24:32):

Yep. And I think, I feel like that's, that's the part where I, I can't stress enough for people who are looking at this and wondering why the cost can be high the an issues of permitting, which I'm gonna guess you have a, a really good relationship and you don't have to wait for anyone. If you wanna get on polls, you know who to talk to cuz they're yours, I'm guessing for the most part. Yeah.

John Lester (24:51):

Look at, we look at the mirror,

Christopher Mitchell (24:53):

Right. But even you have to work through the city for the permitting and anyone who's working with the city, like cities should know that. Like it matters less whether it takes two weeks or six weeks, it's consistency that really matters.

John Lester (25:04):

Yes, yes, exactly. But it's crazy enough that we, we are down literally to 50 in-home gateway units and, and you know, the supply chain issue with the chip that goes in the unit is serious. And we're trying to figure out, we, you know, we want to keep the orders rolling. We, we'd love to do a promotion, but we're afraid that we'll have enough orders and we won't be able to fill 'em.

Christopher Mitchell (25:27):

Right. You get, you get two neighbors and you ask 'em to share <laugh> <laugh>. Just ask this for a few weeks.

John Lester (25:33):

<laugh>. Yeah. That, that'll work. <laugh>,

Christopher Mitchell (25:36):

Is there anything else I should ask you about?

John Lester (25:37):

Not, not that I think so. I mean, it, it's been exciting. It's been you know, you wanna pull your hair out once in a while, but you want to do your homework to make sure the business case is solid. You wanna do all your research, but it really is a huge value add for your community. Cities that even don't own their electric utility really need to get serious about how do we solve this problem for our residents? Because the incumbents are not gonna do it unless they get a lot of money to do it. They're not gonna spend their

Christopher Mitchell (26:09):

Well, and even in that situation, I, I do feel like they've gotten a lot of money and they ain't done it. <laugh>, that's where I just

John Lester (26:16):

Get Sure. True.

Christopher Mitchell (26:17):

I get really frustrated cuz I feel like I, cause I say the same thing you do, whereas I'm just sort of like, well, it's not gonna be efficient. I'm like, wait a minute. Like how many programs have we tried to incent them to do the right thing? And, and yeah. Like some people will get connected, but it's just, it's not the best use of the money. So. Yeah.

John Lester (26:33):


Christopher Mitchell (26:33):

But I well I'll highlight what you said at the beginning there. Do your homework, take it real, you know, talk to people like John Lester and take their advice seriously.

John Lester (26:40):

Absolutely. And I, I guess the other that it's kind of, kind of joke, I, I think I've seen a Saturday night clip on Cancel my cable. but you know, if somebody builds a network, they need to prepare their customer for how hard it's going to be to tell the incumbent disconnect me, <laugh>,

Christopher Mitchell (26:59):

It's best to lie. I've, I learned this. And it's best to say, oh, I'm moving to a place and I've already set your service up so you don't have to worry about me. I just need to disconnect this location, <laugh>.

John Lester (27:11):

Oh, that's pretty funny.

Christopher Mitchell (27:12):

Yeah. <laugh>. Well thank you once again for joining us on the show and and doing that great work. We'll be checking in as you work with your neighbors.

John Lester (27:20):

Love to do it. Enjoy doing the show. So thank you.

Ry (27:23):

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