Home » Gov. Lee Announces Broadband Grants Including $2 Million for Wayne County

Gov. Lee Announces Broadband Grants Including $2 Million for Wayne County

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Governor Bill Lee announced last week the award of 24 major grants from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to expand broadband to unserved communities in every county in Senate District 26: Chester, Fayette, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Lawrence, McNairy and Wayne Counties. In total, these investments will provide broadband access and digital opportunity programs to
more than 236,000 Tennesseans across 92 counties.

“Governor Lee and I are pleased to announce a record amount of grants going to our district to expand broadband to our communities and give people access to the endless opportunities provided through broadband connectivity,” said State Senator Page Walley, District 26. “Broadband enables access to essential education resources, gives businesses more tools to market their products, affords farmers access to the latest technology, and offers needed telehealth services. It also provides critical infrastructure to create jobs and rebuild our economy to ensure that our region will be highly competitive for generations to come.”

“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,” said Gov. Lee. “I thank the Financial
Stimulus Accountability Group for their continued support and management of these broadband

“Wayne Countians should be excited about these broadband grant funds, as am I,” said Wayne County Executive Jim Mangubat. “Our citizens certainly deserve access to faster and potentially less expensive internet.”

The awards consist of Last Mile and Middle Mile infrastructure programs as well as digital opportunity programs. These initiatives are part of a broader strategy to ensure that all residents have access to high-speed internet by 2028, and have opportunities to develop digital skills, access high-quality tech jobs, connect to broadband enabled devices and access online learning and telehealth resources.

Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative received a total of $2,287,343.71 in Last Mile program funding. TVEC is currently working to install TVEC Connect, which is said to be a faster broadband service for Wayne County customers.

To promote broadband opportunity and high-paying digital jobs, TNECD launched four new programs during this funding opportunity: Digital Skills, Employment and Workforce Development (DSEW), Connected Community Facilities (CCF), Broadband Ready Communities (BRC) and Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Broadband Workforce grants.

The CCF grants are being distributed to local governments and will facilitate digital opportunity by construction and renovation of spaces that offer services for digital advancement in workforce, healthcare, and education.

The BRC grants are being distributed to local governments and support community-based digital skills training, public Wi-Fi projects, distribution of free or low-cost devices and marketing for low-cost internet plans.

Wayne County was fortunate to receive $2,000,000 from the Connected Community Facilities (CCF) program grant, and $100,000 from the Broadband Ready Communities (BRC) program.

Applications for the second round of CCF and BRC programs will open on May 15, 2024, and the DSEW program will open on June 15, 2024.

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