NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Gov. Bill Lee tonight during his State of the State address announced plans for a $200 million investment to expand broadband access in Tennessee.
“A significant, one-time investment, combined with significant private investment, will get broadband to just about every community in Tennessee,” said Lee. “To help us achieve our goal of every Tennessean having access to high-speed broadband, my budget recommends an investment of $200 million.”
“We commend Gov. Lee for taking bold steps to quickly bring internet access to those who need it most,” said Mike Knotts, vice president of government affairs with the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the state to expand broadband access in Tennessee.”
Since the passage of the Broadband Accessibility Act just four years ago, Tennessee’s consumer-owned electric cooperatives have brought robust, fiber-based internet access to thousands of homes and businesses across the state. Co-ops are uniquely positioned to build infrastructure quickly and maximize the impact of state and federal grant funds.
“Families and businesses don’t need broadband access six years from now, they need it today,” says Knotts. “In fact, they needed it years ago. The state’s electric co-ops understand the urgency, and we are moving quickly to respond. This historic investment announced tonight by Gov. Lee will bring broadband access to more homes in a shorter amount of time.”
Gov. Lee also announced plans to invest $21 million in rural communities and distressed counties to support rural infrastructure, industrial site development, small business development and to revitalize small town main streets.
The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides leadership, advocacy and support for Tennessee’s 23 electric cooperatives and publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical. Visit tnelectric.org or tnmagazine.org to learn more.