$9 million in ReConnect grants boost broadband projects for four TNBA members

Four Tennessee Broadband Association members will reap the rewards of USDA ReConnect grants to fund broadband construction projects in rural Tennessee.

“Access to high-speed internet is vital for improvements in economic development, health care, education and so much more,” said TNBA Executive Director Levoy Knowles. “These grant announcements are great news for our members and will go a long way to helping them provide this life-changing technology for the people and regions they serve.”

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speaking at press conference

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has invested a total of $9 million for infrastructure projects for Ben Lomand Connect in McMinnville, North Central Telephone Cooperative in Lafayette, Peoples Telephone Company in Erin, and United Communications in Chapel Hill.

The grants will create or improve rural e-Connectivity for 3,744 rural households, 31 businesses, 41 farms and a critical community facility in Tennessee. This is one of many funding announcements in the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments.

“Our core mission at USDA is to increase rural prosperity through boosting economic opportunity in rural America,” Perdue says. “We know that rural communities need robust, modern infrastructure to thrive, and that includes having access to broadband e-Connectivity. We know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

Ben Lomand will use a $2.2 million ReConnect Program grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to rural northeastern Cumberland County. The funded service areas include 222 households, six pre-subscribed businesses and three pre-subscribed farms spread over 100 square miles.

North Central Telephone Cooperative will use a $1.4 million ReConnect Program grant to provide broadband service to residents and businesses in rural Smith County. The funded service areas include 164 households, 10 pre-subscribed businesses and 21 pre-subscribed farms spread over 22 square miles.

representatives of recipients of the USDA grant

Peoples Telephone Company will use a $1 million ReConnect Program loan and a $1 million ReConnect Program grant to provide broadband service to residents and businesses in rural Houston, Henry, Stewart and Montgomery counties. The funded service areas include 642 households, two pre-subscribed businesses and five pre-subscribed farms spread over 38 square miles.

United Communications Inc. will use a $3.3 million ReConnect Program grant to provide broadband service to residents and businesses in rural Wilson, Rutherford, Williamson and Maury counties. The funded service areas include 2,716 households, 13 pre-subscribed businesses, 12 pre-subscribed farms and a critical community facility spread over 48 square miles.