Making an Impact in West Tennessee

Posted: March 23, 2021

TEC expands fiber internet access in West Tennessee with grant funding

TEC is investing more than $15 million in grant funding and matching funds to bring broadband access to over 3,600 businesses and residences in underserved portions of West Tennessee.

TEC, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is an established communications provider for nearly a century. They support multiple operations across the southern states and have been awarded five grants in the past year to expand high-speed internet to rural West Tennessee.

Most recently, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and the Department of Economic and Community Development awarded TEC a broadband accessibility grant totaling $2 million to expand broadband in Benton County. TEC will provide an additional $2.8 million match for a total investment of almost $5 million.

This grant is in addition to four other grants equaling more than $6 million. TEC will include matching funds for a total investment exceeding $15 million in rural broadband deployment in Tennessee.

“People need to be connected, and we at TEC are determined to build these connections in Tennessee’s rural areas. We are thankful for the opportunity to improve communities with our Fast Fiber Internet,” says TEC’s Executive Vice President Joey F. Garner. “Internet access is a stimulant for growth in rural areas through efficient, modern connections from households, schools, businesses, and health care centers to the world. We are dedicated to bridging the broadband gap in Tennessee and improving the quality of life for our customers.”

Lisa Wigington, Vice President of Strategic Operations at TEC adds, “We commend the State of Tennessee and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for their pledge and significant contribution to the Broadband Accessibility Program. Tennessee has been a pioneer in funding rural broadband and has created a streamlined program that works. I believe in having an active state program encourages providers to apply for federal funding, this additionally brings more dollars to the state for broadband expansion efforts.”

The most recent grant will fund 87 miles of fiber deployment and provide access to 883 businesses and residences. Below is a list of other recent grants TEC has received.

Agency Grant Match County(ies)
TNECD $2 million $2.8 million Benton
USDA ReConnect $1.04 million $1 million Henry, Stewart, Houston, Montgomery
USDA ReConnect $2.71 million $1.3 million Carroll
RDOF $285,692 $2.6 million Carroll, Benton, Henry
Emergency Broadband Fund $1.103 million $368,000 Benton

TEC employs more than 200 people across Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and Louisiana. Currently, TEC has invested in and maintains approximately 1,400 miles of fiber in its rural markets. TEC has been a forerunner in providing telecommunications services to rural America and was the first to bring internet options to many rural markets more than 20 years ago.

For more information, visit the TEC website or @TECconnects.