More residents across rural Tennessee will have access to future-proof fiber technology after three TNBA members were awarded more than $6 million in USDA Community Connect grants.
Ben Lomand Connect, Scott County Telephone Cooperative, and West Kentucky and Tennessee Telecommunications Cooperative qualified for the program by matching 15% of the awarded grant.
The Community Connect program provides funds for areas that don’t have access to speeds of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.
Ben Lomand Connect
Ben Lomand Connect will use the $325,000 grant to build more than eight miles of fiber to the Deepwoods Community in Franklin County. Ben Lomand Connect will contribute $48,750.
“Ben Lomand Connect is working diligently to bridge the digital divide by deploying fiber in underserved areas where it wouldn’t otherwise be economically feasible,” says Jennifer Gilliam, Government and Regulatory Affairs manager. “This will give residents access to improved educational, health care, public safety, and economic opportunities.”
SCTC will build fiber to more than 900 potential members in Grainger County with a $3 million grant. SCTC will contribute $450,000.
“SCTC partnered with Powell Valley Electric Cooperative to provide broadband services to all PVEC members,” says SCTC CEO Bill Franklin. “We’re uniting the resources and skills from each cooperative to create a state-of-the-art network. Our motto is ‘Better Together!’”
The service will be marketed as PVEC Fiber, powered by SCTC.
WK&T will expand its network in Weakley and Carroll counties, adding more than 70 miles of fiber while passing about 415 homes, with the $2,833,906 grant. WK&T will contribute $500,018.
“This will ensure that rural residents of southeast Weakley County and northwest Carroll County will have reliable and fast broadband service,” says Karen Furman, Chief Operating Officer. “Broadband doesn’t just improve the quality of life, it’s also essential to any business operation, large or small.”