WASHINGTON – Thursday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is investing nearly $17 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Tennessee. These investments are part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program. Of that funding, $7.8 million will directly impact residents and businesses in the Upper Cumberland.
“Access to a high-speed internet connection is a cornerstone of prosperity, and unfortunately many of America’s rural communities lack access to this critical infrastructure,” USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Bette Brand said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to leveraging all available resources and being a strong partner to rural communities in deploying high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to the people, businesses and community facilities that don’t have access yet. Connecting America’s rural communities to this essential infrastructure is one of USDA’s top priorities, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
Funding for Upper Cumberland communities and businesses includes:
Ben Lomand Holdings, Inc. will use a $1.9 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 152 people, 33 farms and one business to high-speed broadband internet in Cumberland County.
DeKalb Telephone Cooperative, Inc. will use a $2.2 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,053 people, 65 farms and 17 businesses to high-speed internet in Smith, Trousdale and Wilson counties.
Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC), in partnership with Twin Lakes, will use a $3.7 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,687 people, 79 farms and nine businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Meigs County. VEC will install and maintain the fiber for these connections, while Gainesboro’s Twin Lakes provides the service.
Other grants announced for Tennessee communities include:
Highland Communications, LLC will use a $6.4 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,908 people, 73 farms, 25 businesses, eight educational facilities and a fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Campbell County.
West Tennessee Telephone Company, Inc. will use a $2.7 million ReConnect Grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 2,940 people, 40 farms, five businesses and a fire station to high-speed internet in Carroll County.