The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) is currently reviewing the first iteration of new broadband availability maps created by Connected Nation.
The TNECD will soon release the maps for public comment. The final maps are expected early summer 2022.
“We want people to go look, see what’s right and what isn’t on the maps,” says Emily You, TNECD broadband grants manager. “Following public comment, the maps will go back to Connected Nation to incorporate the feedback.”
Though the need for accurate broadband maps in Tennessee was recognized before President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the maps are needed now more than ever. Not only has Tennessee committed $500 million to broadband from the American Rescue Plan, the federal government allocated $65 billion to improve the nation’s broadband infrastructure.
“We’re taking matters into our own hands and doing the maps ourselves,” You says. “They’re going to be extremely helpful for funding decisions, especially with all the money coming for broadband. We’ll be able to accurately know which areas are well served, underserved, unserved.”
Additionally, by using their address on the new maps, residents across the state can identify which providers are available.
“Mapping is critical and I’m proud to see Tennessee gathering the data and producing its own broadband map. It’s like the foundation of the house. If the foundation isn’t right, everything that goes on top of it can create questions and concerns,” says Carrie Huckeby, TNBA executive director.