From L to R: Jim Tracy, USDA Rural Development Tennessee State Director; Bette Brand, USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary; Tennessee State Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston); Mark Patterson, Highland Communications, General Manager.

Campbell County receives broadband grant, Yager reacts

Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) said today that Campbell County will benefit from a $6.4 million federal ReConnect grant.  Highland Communications, LLC will use the funds to connect 2,908 people, 73 farms, 25 businesses, eight educational facilities and a fire station in the county to high speed internet.  The grant is through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Trump Administration.  Senator Yager attended the announcement in Crossville made by USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Bette Brand.

This is a tremendous boost to our ongoing efforts to bring broadband to the citizens of Campbell County,” said Sen. Yager, who has sponsored numerous bills increasing broadband funding at the state level.  “Fast, reliable broadband access has never been more important to our residents than today, yet too many of our citizens lack this service that has become standard in completing school assignment and the operations of businesses large and small.  Not only is broadband an essential economic development tool, it is also necessary for such vital services as telemedicine.   I am very pleased that these funds have been allocated and thank Congressman Fleischmann and our congressional delegation for their support for these funds.  I look forward to seeing the progress that will be made as a result of this grant.”

The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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.

“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.”

Volunteer Energy Cooperative 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, Tennessee.

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, Tennessee.

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, Tennessee.

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 in Tennessee.

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, Tennessee.

Background:

In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On Dec. 13, 2018, Secretary Perdue announced the rules of the program, called “ReConnect,” including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America.

On April 20, 2020, USDA announced the Department has received 172 applications for $1.57 billion in Round Two of the ReConnect Program. The second round will enable USDA to implement innovative new solutions to rural connectivity by leveraging financial options with our partners and continuing the success of the first round of funding. The application window for Round Two closed on April 15.

In Round One of the ReConnect Program, USDA invested $698 million to bring high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to approximately 167,000 households, 17,000 rural small businesses and farms, and more than 500 health care centers, educational facilities and critical community facilities located in 33 states. To learn more about individual investments, read USDA’s Broadband ReConnect Program report.

USDA received 11 Round Two ReConnect Program applications that are eligible for the $100 million Congress allocated to the program through the CARES Act.

To learn more about ReConnect Program eligibility, technical assistance and recent announcements, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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2 comments

  1. I think it was Bellsouth that took part in a government broadband grant some years ago to run fiber to where i live. Every house up this little road had a brand new fiber pedestal installed at the end of the driveway that was connected to miles of fiber that lay dark for years. Now that the “pandemic” has made a broadband internet connection a must we still have nothing but the most awful satellite internet to use.

    • Hi, I was reading about the Grant campbell county received. I’m a single mother of three trying to move into a house big enough for us all if you have any for information on helping me please contact my email thank you

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