Nashville – Today the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced that five Tennessee electric co-ops will receive a total of $5.3 million to expand access to broadband in rural Tennessee. Now in its fourth year, the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Grant Fund has invested more than $100 million in state and federal dollars to bring fast and reliable internet access to all Tennesseans.
“Every Tennessean should have access to the same high-speed broadband, no matter what ZIP code they live in,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “Our continued investment in internet connectivity will help level the playing field for rural communities across our state, and I thank these 13 providers for partnering with us to help nearly 18,000 more Tennesseans get connected.”
Since the Broadband Accessibility Act passed in 2017, 14 of Tennessee’s 23 electric co-ops have launched broadband projects.
“Broadband access is an essential service for families and businesses alike, and that is just as true on the farm as it is on Main Street,” said Mike Knotts, vice president of government relations with the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “We appreciate Gov. Lee and ECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe’s commitment to bring high-speed connectivity to rural Tennessee, and we are honored that they have once again turned to co-ops to get the job done.”
Electric co-ops and their partners receiving grants are:
- Appalachian Electric Cooperative: $919,500 serving parts of Grainger County
- Gibson Electric Membership Corporation: $1,379,944 serving parts of Obion County
- Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Cooperative: $1,580,851 serving parts of Lauderdale County
- United Communications: $782,976 serving parts of Bedford and Marshall counties
- Volunteer Energy Cooperative: $647,890 serving parts of Meigs County