During a speech today at the Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Nashville, President Donald Trump emphasized the need for expanded connectivity across rural America.
David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, made the following statement.
“We are pleased that the Trump administration is making rural issues a priority – especially the expansion of connectivity,” said Callis. “Few things have the potential to reshape rural Tennessee quite like broadband. Modern education, healthcare and commerce all depend on affordable and reliable access. Tennessee’s rural communities have tremendous potential. When they succeed, we all succeed.”
Tennessee’s electric co-ops serve more than 2.5 million Tennesseans, many of whom do not have access to broadband.
In 2017, Gov. Bill Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly recognized that electric co-ops are uniquely positioned to help close the state’s digital divide. The Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act removed restrictions that prevented electric cooperatives from providing retail internet access. Just nine months later, some areas of the state are already seeing the benefits. Two co-ops have active broadband pilot projects, and several others will begin connecting consumers later this year.