Firms search enter for broadband web grant functions | Native Information


Two web service suppliers are asking for the neighborhood’s assist as they put together grant functions to increase service in Cumberland County.

Ben Lomand Join and Bledsoe Phone Cooperative are requesting residents of the areas they’re eyeing for grant functions full brief surveys concerning their present web service. 

BTC hopes to finish a fiber optic growth within the southern portion of Cumberland County, together with the Vandever and Breckenridge communities. The survey is on the market on-line at

Ben Lomand Join is making use of for grants in massive parts of the county that embody areas throughout the 1st, third, 4th, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth Civil Districts. People residing in these districts space requested to fill out the survey at Help letters for the grant utility could also be mailed to communitysupport@benlomand.web.

The businesses ask residents to make use of their dwelling web connection when testing present service pace. 

“Grant assist is essential to this challenge, and neighborhood assist is a vital part of the grant utility,” stated Cumberland County Mayor Allen Foster in a latest press launch. “You should definitely full these surveys even in case you have achieved so prior to now.”

Tennessee has designated $400 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to assist broadband web growth within the state. Grants can be found to suppliers to increase service to underserved areas.

The state grants embody a match from suppliers — as much as 30% of the price. The Cumberland County Fee voted in January to dedicate as much as $3 million of its $11.74 million in ARP funds to assist broadband growth. Suppliers awarded grants for Cumberland County initiatives could request 10% to twenty% of the funding match necessities from the county.

County assist can bolster a grant utility, Foster instructed members of the county fee in January. Plus, the county would have further assurance the challenge meets federal necessities for utilizing ARP cash if the challenge has been authorised by the state.

Residents throughout the county have struggled to entry dependable, high-speed web service. Foster stated it was the highest concern he heard about when working for workplace in 2018.

These complaints led to a countywide survey to evaluate web entry and problem maps utilized by the Federal Communications Fee. These maps had used data offered by web service corporations and have been based mostly on Census blocks. If a supplier reported one buyer in a Census block acquired high-speed web service — outlined as 25 megabytes per second obtain pace and three megabytes per second add pace — then the FCC thought-about the world served.

Residents offered their web pace information to Foster as a part of a 2019 survey. The outcomes confirmed massive parts of the county lacked high-speed web entry and helped suppliers problem the FCC maps as they utilized for grants.

Firms have since been profitable in grant packages, with six grants awarded for growth of web service in Cumberland County since February 2020:

• February 2020, $2.2 million USDA Reconnect Grant to Ben Lomand to serve 222 properties throughout about 100 sq. miles within the areas of Smith Mountain, Millstone Mountain and Lengthy Rockhouse Department close to Crab Orchard and north of Fairfield Glade west towards No Enterprise Creek and Clear Creek

• April 2020, $2 million grant from the Tennessee Division of Financial and Neighborhood Growth to Ben Lomand to serve about 1,500 areas within the Hwy. 127 N. space

• October 2020, $1.9 million USDA Reconnect Grant to Ben Lomand to serve 84 addresses and about 25 sq. miles within the southwestern portion of the county

• December 2020, $3.3 million CARES Act grant to Volunteer Power Cooperative and Twin Lakes to increase service within the Cumberland Cove space

• February 2021, $4.8 million Rural Digital Alternative Fund grant to Constitution Communications to increase service to about 6,000 further properties within the county. The brand new service areas account for about 20% of all households within the county

• March 2021, $1.9 million Tennessee Division of Financial and Neighborhood Growth grant to Ben Lomand to increase service to 1,125 areas within the county

Grant functions for state funding are due in March, with awards tentatively set for announcement in early summer time 2022.

“Keep in mind, simply because your location might not be in one among these areas, it doesn’t imply you might be out of luck,” Foster added. “Different suppliers are in search of grants as nicely. I’ll hold you up to date as extra data turns into accessible.”

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