ATC receives $30.1 million in fiber funding
Tennessee Broadband Association members continue making big investments in their communities as they work to spread broadband access throughout rural Tennessee.
Ardmore Telephone Company is the latest TNBA member to benefit from federal funding programs for rural broadband.
ATC received a combination $4.9 million grant and $4.9 million loan to install 90 miles of fiber optic broadband that will serve parts of Benton County, Tennessee, and 125 miles of fiber that will serve parts of Lincoln and Giles counties.
“We are excited to see more and more members taking advantage of state and federal funding opportunities for broadband expansion,” says TNBA Executive Director Levoy Knowles. “This will help ATC provide vital technology to unserved areas of Tennessee.”
The $9.8 million grant/loan combination comes on the heels of a $20.3 million loan to expand fiber in the New Market, Elkmont, Ardmore, McBurg and Minor Hill communities, covering parts of Tennessee and some of ATCʼs territories in Alabama.
“We are very excited to receive these funds to ensure everyone in this region has access to the fastest, most reliable internet technology available,” says ATC Chief Executive Officer Trevor Bonnstetter. “Fiber optic broadband is a future-proof technology, and we are proud to make this investment for our community.”
This recent investment is part of $100 million Congress allocated to the ReConnect Program through the CARES Act and $550 million available in the second round of ReConnect Program Funding.
“I am so proud of our rural communities who have been working day in and day out, just like they always do, producing the food and fiber America depends on,” says U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We need them more than ever during these trying times, and expanding access to this critical infrastructure will help ensure rural America prospers for years to come.”
Bonnstetter says the recent COVID-19 health crisis has proven the need for everyone to have access to broadband.
“With so many working from home and students learning online, ATC is aggressively pursuing and implementing solutions to make sure our customers have the tools they need,” he says. “We are thankful that our federal, state and local governments understand the importance of connecting rural communities to a fast, reliable broadband network.”
The Broadband ReConnect Program furnishes loans and grants to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.
To learn more about the ReConnect program, visit usda.gov/reconnect.