Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter announced on April 30 that the state of Tennessee will award more than $162 million in grants to expand broadband opportunities and access to high-quality digital jobs. Of the total grants, $97.2 million will be dedicated to Last Mile and Middle Mile fiber infrastructure deployment.

These grants are expected to expand broadband access to more than 236,000 underserved Tennesseans across 92 counties.

Eight TVPPA members qualified to receive grants.

Last Mile Grants

  • Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative received $3,563,814.31 to complete Last Mile infrastructure projects in Hardin and Wayne Counties.

Middle Mile Grants

The following TVPPA members or their subsidiaries received funding to complete Middle Mile infrastructure projects:

  • Aeneas Communications (a subsidiary of Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation) received $7,189,296.66 to serve parts of Chester, Fayette, Hardeman, Haywood, Lauderdale, Madison, and Tipton Counties.
  • Dickson Electric Department received $1,364,758.72 to serve parts of Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Houston, and Montgomery Counties.
  • Gibson Connect (a subsidiary of Gibson Electric Cooperative) received $7,097,544 to serve parts of Gibson and Madison Counties.
  • Brightridge received $6,681,348.54 to serve parts of Greene and Washington Counties.
  • Newport Utilities received $15,192,642.36 to serve parts of Cocke County.
  • Fayetteville Board of Public Utilities received $2,646,000 to serve parts of Giles, Lincoln, and Marshall Counties.
  • United Communications (a subsidiary of MTE) received $7,988,846.15 to serve parts of Bedford, Franklin, Marshall, Moore, Rutherford and Williamson Counties.

Through initiatives such as this the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development hopes to ensure that all Tennesseans, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed internet by 2028 in order to help them develop digital skills, connect to online learning and telehealth opportunities and develop the necessary skills needed for high-quality tech jobs.