In his 2018-2019 budget amendment, Gov. Bill Haslam took advantage of increasing revenues to fund projects supporting school safety, opioid addiction, aeronautics job training — and rural broadband.
The amendment added $5 million in nonrecurring grant money to the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Grant program. Coupling that with the $10 million already allotted for the grants, the state is offering $15 million to broadband providers in support of bringing broadband to some of the states’ rural communities.
“By significantly increasing the amount of grant funding for these projects, the governor is showing not just that broadband is essential for all Tennesseeans, but also that he has faith in providers like our TTA members to build the networks in the rural parts of our state,” said TTA Executive Director Levoy Knowles. “TTA members received about half of the funding in the first round of grants, and as Tennessee’s rural broadband experts, I would expect another strong showing the next time the grants are announced.”
The initial round of grants, announced in January, included five grants for TTA members:
- Aeneas Communications: $190,000 to serve parts of Hardeman County
- Ben Lomand Communications: $1 million to serve the Pocahontas Community in Coffee County
- DTC Communications: $1.7 million to serve parts of Smith and Wilson counties
- Scott County Telephone Cooperative: $1.9 million to serve Surgoinsville in Hawkins County
- Volunteer First Services: $76,714 to serve the Sunset Ridge Community in Cumberland County
Other grant recipients include Comcast, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation, Sunset Digital Communications and Tri-County Fiber Communications.