Cooperative will match grant dollars to build fiber network in Jackson, Putnam and Smith counties
GAINESBORO — The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced today that Twin Lakes has been awarded $1,233,987 under its Broadband Accessibility Grant program.
The cooperative will match these funds, investing a total of $4,045,860 to build a fiber network in parts of Jackson, Putnam and Smith counties.
“The fiber network is invaluable to the economic development of our region,” explained Jonathan West, CEO at Twin Lakes. “Building a fiber optic network is the best way for Twin Lakes to reliably deliver the broadband speed and capacity our members demand in order to stream video, telecommute, run smart homes, play online games and more.”
The project calls for building a fiber network in the North Springs and Highland areas of Jackson County, the Buffalo Valley and Gentry areas of Putnam County and the Chestnut Mound area of Smith County. Twin Lakes applied last fall for what was the second round of Tennessee’s broadband grant program. Twin Lakes also applied for an Appalachian Regional Commission Grant to build a fiber network in Granville and is expecting to hear the ARC’s decision in the coming weeks.
For the state grants, many residents in the affected communities submitted testimonies to support the application, citing how a lack of reliable broadband negatively impacts their quality of life in areas such as education, business opportunities, health care, family and safety.
“We’re fortunate to live in a state where our elected leaders and policymakers understand both the importance of broadband and the challenges of bringing world- class networks to rural areas,” West said. “I’d like to applaud the leadership from our governor, the legislature and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for making this investment in the lives of rural Tennesseans in Jackson, Putnam and Smith counties. There’s more work to be done, but this is an important step.”
“This program is a strong example of how we can solve the challenge of rural broadband in this state,” said Levoy Knowles, executive director of the Tennessee Telecommunications Association. “This public/private partnership resulted in a major investment in rural broadband last year, and we’re proud to continue that partnership with today’s announcements.” Twin Lakes is a broadband, TV, security and phone service cooperative incorporated in 1951. As a cooperative, Twin Lakes is owned by the member subscribers in the following areas: Baxter, Byrdstown, Celina, Chestnut Mound, Clarkrange, Cookeville South, Crawford, Gainesboro, Granville, Highland, Jamestown, Livingston, Moss, North Springs and Rickman.