Less than one year after Tennessee law changed to allow electric cooperatives to provide retail broadband services, many co-ops are already connecting members, some are studying and evaluating their options, and others are announcing upcoming projects. Still though, many rural and suburban Tennesseans are without adequate access to broadband, and funding remains the greatest barrier preventing co-ops from reaching unserved areas.
The recently passed Bipartisan Budget Act dedicated $20 billion over the next two years for infrastructure investments across the country. Tennessee’s Electric Cooperatives are urging Congress to dedicate significant funding to rural infrastructure, particularly rural broadband, from the $10 billion dedicated to infrastructure development in 2018.
We recommend at least $2.5 billion of 2018 funding be dedicated to broadband deployment in rural America. This funding should be provided through the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service.
As each day passes without adequate access to broadband, the digital divide widens and leaves many of us behind in our rural communities. We have an opportunity to make a real difference to take a step towards bridging this divide. We are asking you to take action.
We at Duck River Electric Membership Corporation are asking you to send a message to Senator Alexander and your member of Congress asking for funding to be dedicated to rural broadband. Please join us in sharing this message with as many citizens as you can.
Please visit takeactiontn.com to take action, and send a message to Washington that these critical dollars are needed to support the efforts of co-ops to install rural broadband.