| Email | Print
Like many rural American communities, Bristol Virginia owns and operates its own electric company, Bristol Virginia Utilities (BVU). City-owned and cooperative utilities are a legacy of the last wave of rural development in the United States, which focused on electrification. In 1998, Bristol's city council voted to allow BVU to construct a fiber-optic backbone to improve communications and control among its eight electric substations. By 2000, BVU had extended the network to local schools and government offices to support telephone, data and broadband Internet. It spurred demands from local businesses to provide service to them. So, in 2001, the council and BVU agreed to begin offering fiber-to-the-user (FTTU) service, branded OptiNet, to all residents and businesses.