Two TVPPA-member electric cooperatives have won broadband accessibility grants from the State of Tennessee.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced Jan. 26 that Gibson EMC, Trenton, TN, and Tri-County EMC, Lafayette, TN, would each receive about $1.3 million for new broadband infrastructure in their respective service areas. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development received 71 applications asking for more than $66 million; Gibson EMC and Tri-County Fiber were among nine grantees receiving nearly $10 million.

Dan Rodamaker, president/CEO at Gibson EMC, said that cooperative’s grant money will be spent on improving service in Lake and Obion counties.

“This is outstanding news for those counties,” Rodamaker said. “It moves us a step closer to our ultimate goal of making this essential service available to all our members.

“We appreciate that Governor Haslam and our legislators have recognized the critical need for broadband accessibility in our state’s rural areas and have taken steps to help make providing this service possible,” Rodamaker said.

Paul Thompson, executive vice president and general manager at Tri-County EMC, said that he and his staff have spent the past five years telling “anyone who would listen” about the need for broadband in that cooperative’s service area.

“We are absolutely thrilled with [this] announcement,” Thompson said. “I believe that having our application, out of a total of 71, approved shows that leaders believe our story.”