Tennessee Commits $100 Million to Helping Solve the Digital Divide

Posted: June 21, 2021

General Assembly passes record broadband investment

After regularly committing $10 to $15 million in broadband funding during previous years, state legislators recently committed $100 million over the next year to build out broadband infrastructure across Tennessee.

The increased funding will help close the gap for high-speed internet access between urban and rural areas across the state.

“While most Tennesseans have returned to in-person school and work, the pandemic revealed just how deep the digital divide runs across our state,” says Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. “Rural communities are not just underserved when it comes to broadband; they are unserved. Tennessee’s $100 million budget is an important step to bolster broadband infrastructure and promote better health care, education, and professional outcomes for the Volunteer State.”

From faster internet for virtual learning to easier access for telemedicine and telecommuting to more streaming entertainment and online gaming options, reliable broadband throughout the state will bring Tennesseans an increased quality of life, especially in rural areas.

Additionally, faster internet across Tennessee will be an important economic development tool to help bring more investments by business and more jobs to residents.

“I commend Governor Lee, Lt. Governor McNally, and Speaker of the House Sexton for their leadership in working to extend vital broadband coverage,” says Senator Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn. “Access to broadband is critical in today’s world, and it’s the kind of real infrastructure that offers taxpayers a tangible return on their investment. From small-business owners to farmers to students to those needing telemedicine, Tennesseans need access to reliable high-speed internet.”