Brightspeed, Charter, 13 Others Get $97.2M in TN Broadband Grants

Brightspeed, Charter, 13 Others Get $97.2M in TN Broadband Grants

The state of Tennessee announced awards totaling $97.2 million for broadband deployment, targeting both middle-mile and last-mile connections.

The program’s awardees include Charter, Brightspeed, and 13 other entities, including local telecom providers and electric companies.

This funding came after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) Commissioner Stuart C. McWhorter announced that the state would award $162.7 million in broadband and digital opportunity grants.

Gov. Lee. “Broadband is essential to all Tennesseans, and that’s why we are making strategic investments in our state’s broadband infrastructure and digital opportunity programs to create a pathway to education, job training, and greater opportunity statewide,”

He added, “I thank the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group for their continued support and management of these broadband dollars.”

The Tennessee program aims to cover the costs of setting up broadband in areas without service.

Its goal is to ensure all Tennesseans can access broadband while encouraging its expansion and use. The funds will focus on areas unlikely to get broadband without this support.

Last Mile Awards

The Last Mile Connection program is a competitive grant initiative that delivers internet service to remote areas across the state.

It targets regions where setting up broadband infrastructure projects wouldn’t be viable without financial support.

The award was totaled budgeted for $24 million.

Charter and Brightspeed, and the other two companies were the effective winners of the last mile awards.

Charter secured four grants for last-mile projects, amounting to around $11.7 million, while Brightspeed received a single grant of over $6.8 million for a last-mile project.

Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative won three grants totaling over $3.5 million, and ETC Communications won a single grant for over $2 million.

Brightspeed, Charter, 13 Others Get $97.2M in TN Broadband Grant
Brightspeed, Charter, 13 Others Get $97.2M in TN Broadband Grants

Middle Mile Awards

The middle mile awards totaled budgeted for $73.2 million. In which, Charter won five grants totaling approximately $988,000.

Along with Charter,11 other companies won middle mile awards.

The biggest middle mile awardees were Newport Utilities with $15.2 million and Ben Lomand Communications with $14.7 million.

The complete list of Tennessee broadband infrastructure awardees is as follows:

  • Aeneas Communications (middle mile)
  • Ben Lomand Communications (middle mile)
  • Board of Public Utilities of the City of Fayetteville (middle mile)
  • BrightRidge (middle mile)
  • Brightspeed (last mile)
  • Charter (last mile and middle mile)
  • Spectrum (last mile and middle mile)
  • Dickson Electric Department (middle mile)
  • ETC Communications (last mile)
  • Gibson Connect (middle mile)
  • Loretto Telephone Company (middle mile)
  • Newport Utilities (middle mile)
  • Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative (last mile)
  • Twin Lakes Communications (middle mile)
  • United Communications (middle mile)
  • West Kentucky Rural Telephone Cooperative (middle mile)

As per Tennessee’s state, the awards will make broadband available to 58,200 Tennesseans across 23,000 locations in 37 counties.

Digital Opportunity Awards

The Digital Opportunity Award is visioned to ensure that all Tennesseans have access to affordable and reliable internet service, dependable technology, and the digital literacy skills necessary to empower individuals to fully access all digital opportunities.

As per the report, Tennessee was awarded $65.5 million for digital opportunity programs.

This includes:

  • $27.9 million for Digital Skills, Employment, and Workforce Development
  • $26.5 million for Connected Community Facilities
  • $6 million for Broadband Ready Communities
  • $4.9 million for the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Broadband Workforce program

Recipients from various programs will allocate around $48 million for project expenses and are required to finish their projects by the end of 2026.

About the author

Nancy Beverly

Nancy Beverly is a prominent political journalist and editor at World-Wire, known for her sharp analysis and deep understanding of global politics. With a Master's degree in Political Science, she excels in breaking down complex political issues, making them relatable to the public. At World-Wire, Nancy crafts compelling political narratives covering everything from local governance to international relations. Recognized for her expertise, she received the 'Excellence in Political Journalism' award in 2021. Nancy's work not only informs but also enriches her readers' understanding of political dynamics.

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