The grant is a product of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act, and was awarded by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.
DTC Communications serves residents in Cannon, DeKalb, Rutherford, Smith and Wilson counties. The grant will cover areas near Plunkett Creek and Rawls Creek roads in Smith County and areas near Watertown in Wilson County.
“With this grant money and DTC’s matching contribution, we will be able to reach out and help more of the underserved and unserved in our area,” said Chris Townson, DTC’s CEO. The project includes building miles of new fiber optic lines in and around the designated grant area, and is expected to take up to two years to complete.
Townson continued, “The grant helps DTC continue its efforts to build a state-of-the-art fiber optic network for our members and the region we serve. It’s an exciting time for DTC Communications.”
Levoy Knowles, executive director of the Tennessee Telecommunications Association, congratulated Townson.
“This is great news for DTC Communications. These grants will help our local telecom companies to continue filling in the high-speed broadband gaps in and near their rural coverage areas.
TTA has worked with the governor’s office to make rural broadband a top priority. These grants are a solid way to advance that priority.”
A total of $30 million in grants and $15 million in tax breaks are part of the governor‘s program, passed last year in the General Assembly, to make more broadband available in rural Tennessee. These are the first grants awarded.
DTC Communications, a member of TTA, was one of five TTA member companies that received almost half of the $9.8 million in grants awarded.
TTA members include independent and cooperatively owned telecom companies that provide high-speed broadband or fiber service to more than 136,000 customers in rural Tennessee. They have installed more than 21,000 miles of fiber in rural areas across the state, and by 2019, they will have spent more than $243 million to connect rural Tennesseans with gig-speed fiber – the fastest Internet available.
TTA has connected rural Tennesseans for 70 years.