Governor Announces Broadband Grants
If you do not have high speed internet at your home…you could have it soon. On Monday, Gov. Bill Lee and Commissioner Stuart McWhorter announced a $447 million investment in broadband infrastructure to bring broadband access to unserved areas across the state. East Tennessee utility companies will be getting over 10 percent of that funding…or over $50 million. Newport Utilities which serves all of Cocke County and part of Jefferson County will receive over $2.4 million of that money. The Knoxville Utility Board, which of course serves Knoxville but also parts of Sevier and Jefferson Counties will get $15 million. $8.6 million is being granted to the Appalachian Electric Cooperative for Jefferson, Grainger and Hamblen counties. In making the announcement, Lee stated People are moving to Tennessee from across the nation in record numbers, and we have an obligation to prepare our state for continued growth.” The governor went on to say “Our strategic investments in broadband infrastructure will ensure our rural communities are connected and have every opportunity to thrive”.
Funding for these grants comes through the Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund – American Rescue Plan, which uses a portion of the state’s federal American Rescue Plan funds to address the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.