Governor promises broadband in rural areas

Posted at 9:13 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 22:13:28-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Rural areas may see a sizable boost to their adoption of high-speed broadband internet if Governor Bill Lee's budget becomes reality.

The governor announced a $200 million commitment to internet in rural counties as a part of his budget announcement, Monday.

The commissioner of finance called it a once-and-for-all fix to the issue of lacking broadband.

Tennessee has many areas where internet is sparse or unattainable.

The promise of broadband in the countryside is not new to Tennesseans, though.

Three years ago, excitement was stirred after former President Donald Trump said rural broadband was a priority of his.

Charlie Hancock, a farmer in Stewart County, was pleased with the news at the time.

"We didn't have good cell phone service. The internet we did have was slow, we couldn't download anything, we couldn't do any youtube," said Hancock.

However, internet was readily available for him and his family of five until nearly three years later. Hancock's home just got fiber a few months ago.

"We don't have very good cell reception because we're here in Bumpus Mills. But we can send messages better we can talk on the phone better, I can work remotely," said Emily Hancock, Charlie's adult daughter.

The family were also able to use their new high-speed internet to video chat with their mother after she was diagnosed with COVID-19, and had to stay in the hospital.

Charlie said he thinks the new announcement is good news for the many rural areas that don't have broadband.