Lee announces grants to improve broadband internet access across Tennessee

Posted at 1:37 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 14:37:30-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Gov. Bill Lee says $61 million in grants will be awarded to help improve access to broadband internet across the state.

Lee first announced the grants Thursday during his COVID-19 briefing, but sent out a full release on Friday.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has only further elevated the importance of access to reliable, affordable broadband internet to facilitate telemedicine, distance learning, and telecommuting,” said Gov. Lee.

The Department of Economic and Community Development received 84 applications for $89.1 million in funding. The governor’s office said 62 projects were selected following a review and a public comment period.

According to the release, the remaining 28 were denied “due to a number of factors including project feasibility, applicant experience, and public comments received from existing broadband providers.”

Those applicants can apply for the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Grant Program – funded at $15 million this year – where the state says applicants are given more time to complete project builds.

The projects are limited to those that would help improve broadband access to people during the pandemic.

According to the release, the grants are funded through the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund allotment from the federal government and distributed through the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

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