Follow Us On:

Gov. Lee, Commissioner McWhorter announce $163M to expand broadband

Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 12:30 pm

United Communications, Bedford Co. to be included

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) Commissioner Stuart C. McWhorter announced on Tuesday that the state will award $162.7 million in broadband and digital opportunity grants.

In total, these investments will provide broadband access and digital opportunity programs to more than 236,000 Tennesseans across 92 counties.

United Communications, which services parts of Franklin, Moore, Rutherford, Marshall, and Bedford counties will receive two grants:

  1. $3,150,106.56 (for Franklin, Moore, and Bedford)
  2. $3,058,513.28 (for Bedford, Rutherford and Marshall)


“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 dollars.”

With today’s announcement, TNECD has invested more than $715 million to expand the state’s broadband infrastructure, connecting more than 689,000 Tennesseans across 275,000
residential and business locations.

“More than $715 million has been invested to expand broadband under Governor Lee’s administration, and we are excited to announce additional funding today that will ensure Tennesseans have access to and benefit from high-speed internet, which opens the door to high-quality job training,” said Commissioner McWhorter.

A total of $97.2 million is being funded by the Last Mile and Middle Mile infrastructure programs, and $65.5 million will be invested in 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. TNECD’s investment of $97.2 million in broadband infrastructure will provide access to more than 58,200 Tennesseans across 23,000 locations in 37 counties.

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)
  • Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Broadband Workforce grants


The DSEW grants, totaling $27.9 million, will be distributed among 47 organizations that will offer a variety of training and education programs to advance digital skills and workforce development, creating a pipeline for well-paying digital jobs.

The CCF grants, totaling $26.5 million, will be distributed among 19 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, totaling $6 million, will be distributed among 64 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.

The TCAT Broadband Workforce grants, totaling $4.9 million, will be distributed among five TCATs that will offer a Telecommunications Electronics Technician diploma. The objective of the program will be to produce a well-trained and diverse telecommunications workforce capable of deploying and managing broadband infrastructure.

Grantees across all programs are investing approximately $48 million in matching funds and will complete their projects by December 31, 2026.

This press release is by TNECD Media Contact, Lindsey Tipton, Director of Communications.