State Rep. Dennis Powers, R-Jacksboro, today announced a $221,516 emergency broadband grant would be awarded to Campbell County through the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund allotment from the federal government.
The grant is part of $61 million in emergency broadband package for 62 projects announced by Gov. Bill Lee last week and distributed by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) to improve access to broadband internet across the state.
The grant will be awarded to Comcast of the South to provide broadband access to rural Campbell County.
“Access to high-speed internet and broadband services are desperately needed in our region and that necessity has only been amplified by this pandemic,” Powers said. “Broadband is an essential service greatly benefits businesses and families, but also increases economic investment and growth. This grant will make a difference in the lives of many of our neighbors and I am committed to working to bring even greater access to our community.”
The ECD received 84 applications for $89.1 million in funding, according to Lee’s office. Following review and a public comment period, 62 projects representing $61 million will be funded. The remaining $28 million in projects were denied due to a number of factors including project feasibility, applicant experience, and public comments received from existing broadband providers. Unfunded applicants will be invited to reapply for the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Grant Program, funded at $15 million this year.
Pursuant to federal guidelines, these projects are limited to those that would enhance access to individuals and families affected during the COVID-19 pandemic by the lack of broadband access in their area. Eligible entities included those authorized to provide broadband services in Tennessee, and eligible areas were limited to those unserved or underserved locations lacking all equipment necessary to provide a broadband connection capable of supporting telemedicine, distance learning, and telecommuting.
Information about the Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund can be found here.
Powers represents District 36 in the Tennessee House of Representatives which is made up of Campbell, and part of Union and Anderson counties. He serves as the Chairman of the Banking and Investments Subcommittee. He is a member of the Commerce and Insurance Committees and the Property and Casualty Subcommittee. Powers can be reached at 615-741-3335 or by email at [email protected].