Tennessee has been highlighted among a short list of states making real progress on the challenge of expanding rural broadband.
The Tennessean newspaper reported today that a new study from the Pew Charitable Trust lists the state among nine who are taking the right approach to rural broadband.
“Our member companies have a long history of delivering the technology their communities need to thrive,” says Levoy Knowles, executive director of the Tennessee Broadband Association. “This study is further validation that we have a strong rural broadband program in the state, with our member companies poised to invest $400 million in fiber networks in the next three years alone — on top of the many millions already invested.”
Knowles said the state’s Broadband Accessibility grants, highlighted in the Pew study, have been a critical tool in helping providers expand fiber. “Coupled with local investments, these grants have accelerated the progress our member companies have made in extending broadband service across rural Tennessee,” he says.
Federal funds for broadband expansion have also flowed into the state. Several TNBA members were recently awarded grants and loans from the ReConnect America program. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue visited Tennessee to make the announcement.
“Connecting rural America with broadband service is a challenge, but it’s a challenge we are meeting in the state of Tennessee,” says Knowles. “It’s gratifying for our member companies, and the state government, to be recognized in the Pew Charitable Trust study for the progress we’re making together.”