Gov. Bill Lee calls for one-time $200 million broadband investment in State of the State address

Posted: February 9, 2021

Funds would help nearly every community gain access to high-speed broadband

Bill LeeDuring his third State of the State address, Gov. Bill Lee proposed a one-time $200 million investment in rural broadband, which is a huge increase from $15 million in 2020.

Especially in rural areas, the COVID-19 pandemic made it clear just how vital access to fast and reliable fiber internet is, now and in the future.

“Whether it’s running a small business, accessing virtual learning or accessing health care via telemedicine, slow internet speeds have many in rural Tennessee left at a disadvantage,” Gov. Lee said in his address. “I’ve proposed record investments in broadband since becoming governor, and I’m grateful for this legislature’s support on that issue. But I’m ready for us to solve this issue once and for all. A significant, one-time investment, combined with significant private investment, will get broadband to just about every community in Tennessee, and tonight, that’s exactly what I’m proposing.”

Broadband expansion is vital to improve educational outcomes, access to telemedicine, business performance and more.

“Rural Tennesseans need access to fiber broadband now more than ever for education, work, health care and entertainment,” Levoy Knowles, Tennessee Broadband Association executive director said. “We are beyond grateful for Gov. Lee’s continued commitment to rural broadband in Tennessee.”

To learn more about Gov. Lee’s State of the State address, visit