Tech Park: Fiber Ready
By: David G. Thomas, The Jackson Sun on Aug 27, 2015
After it was announced that Tiger Jones Technology Park becomes the first industrial park in Tennessee to receive AT&T’s Fiber Ready designation, Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist proclaimed “the dance floor is ready.”
Gist joined Joelle Phillips, president of AT&T Tennessee, Madison County deputy mayor Tony White, and first vice-chair of the Jackson Chamber Ben Ferguson when the announcement was made Wednesday at the Jackson Chamber.“AT&T has provided the music, and
we’re looking for a dance partner,” Gist said. “We’re ready, we’re ready for a client, a customer to come in and occupy that site. The due diligence … it’s already done.”
The 120.6-acre Tiger Jones Technology Park is located near Liberty Technology High School, about a half mile from Interstate 40.… it’s already done.”
In May 2014, the data center site was the first location designated in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s seven state region as an Enterprise site.
“As an AT&T Fiber Ready site, this makes the site even more attractive to a data center,” Gist said. “It also makes the Enterprise Designation even stronger. This certification validates that Jackson is in a position for both local and global development.”
Joelle Phillips compared the designation to history’s first information highway — the railroad.
“Think of the people who never rode a train, but they could hear the whistle,” Phillips said. “What we are seeing now is just the beginning, and (AT&T) is happy to play a part. We recently realized how helpful this is for core development purposes, and some businesses in Jackson — and its customers — can do business anywhere in the world.”
Tony White, who was pinch hitting for Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris, said AT&T has shown great confidence in what Jackson and Madison County are trying to accomplish.
“That is to be a progressive community and a good place to start, or expand a business,” White said. “This is not the first time AT&T has made a significant investment into our community. In 2013, a portion of AT&T’s $1.4 billion 4G LTE investment in Tennessee went to Jackson and surrounding communities.”
White gave his own perspective of what the investment means, comparing Wednesday’s announcement to an open house.
“Today, we are having an open house in Jackson and Madison County, and the world is invited,” White said. “We have an addition to the house, which is the designation of Tiger Jones Technology Park as AT&T Fiber Ready, (and) that means we have more room for people to move in with us.”
The Tiger Jones Technology Park presents various layout potential with an on-site electric substation dual-served by the Tennessee Valley Authority 161 kV transmission system. The site is located in the center of a nine-county labor region with a population of over 300,000 and has a variety of workforce training opportunities, including, four 4-year colleges and universities located in the MSA and two colleges of applied technologies, all of which offer CIS programs.
Ben Ferguson said Wednesday’s announcement only validates the partnership between AT&T and the TVA.
“We’re telling the world Jackson is ready for this,” Ferguson said. “Because of the increased importance of communications infrastructure, this Fiber Ready designation offers the opportunity to clearly show the presence of modern communications services and can be a valuable tool as we continue to aggressively recruit data centers and other employers to the area.”
Spencer Sessions, TVA’s economic development senior target marketing specialist for data centers said higher skills with better pay and benefits usually can be expected.
“This AT&T Fiber Ready designation … in addition to the preparedness work Jackson and Madison County has already done, this makes it even more data center ready.
“Data centers are looking for an optimal site, available and trainable workforce along with a robust infrastructure network — power and fiber,” Sessions said.
Photo above left, Joelle Phillips, President of AT&T Tennessee, speaks to the crowd at Jackson Chamber. (Photo: C.B. SCHMELTER/The Jackson Sun)