Residents And Businesses To Get Internet Access With USDA Assistance

Monday, November 6, 2017

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett Monday announced that USDA is investing more than $200 million in infrastructure projects to bring broadband to hundreds of unserved and underserved rural communities. 

“Broadband infrastructure is vital to our economy and quality of life in rural America," said Ms. Hazlett. "Yet, today nearly 40 percent of rural residents and businesses lack access to the same quality service available in urban centers. Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is working hard to bridge this gap.  From access to health care to workforce training and connection to global markets, broadband is truly a lifeline to prosperity in rural communities.” 

Two Tennessee companies were awarded grants to improve infrastructure in three rural counties and two telephone cooperatives received loans to provide broadband access to over 32,000 customers. Ben Lomand Communications, LLC, located in Warren County received a $1.5 million grant to construct state-of-the-art fiber to the premise facilities serving 179 customers in the Pocahontas community in Coffee County. And North Central Communications, Inc., with offices located in Macon and White Counties, was awarded a $2,836,187 grant to construct an FTTP system for 278 unserved households in Trousdale and Smith counties. Not only will over 450 households have access to the internet, a community center will be established where residents may have access to computer terminals and free internet for at least two years in the locations listed above. 

Bledsoe Telephone Cooperative Corporation in Bledsoe County and Twin Lakes Telephone Cooperative Corporation located in Jackson County are two telephone coops that received loans. Bledsoe Telephone Cooperative Corporation’s $7,885,000 loan will be used to provide broadband fiber service to nearly 2,000 subscribers in and around Dunlap and Pikeville. The upgrades will improve traffic routing, overall functionality and network security. Twin Lakes Telephone Cooperative Corporation’s $15,827,000 loan will be used to convert portions of a legacy copper network to an FTTP system and to deploy broadband infrastructure for further expansion. Approximately 590 miles of copper lines will be replaced with fiber, allowing Twin Lakes to provide nearly 30,000 customers with enhanced broadband and voice services. 

“We are extremely pleased with the grants and loans awarded to Tennessee companies today,” said Harriet Cannon, Tennessee acting state director. “The construction of FTTP systems, the establishment of community centers and the ability to provide broadband fiber to our rural communities are all game changers in the way business is conducted in these rural areas.” 

These awards are being financed through USDA’s Telecommunications Program, which has provided financial assistance to more than 500 telecommunications providers nationwide. USDA is announcing $207 million in loans and grants today. 

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit


DEML Opens Counseling Practice

Gloria Deml, PH.D, ME.D, BSN of Chattanooga announces the opening of her counselling practice.  She is a 2007 graduate of the National Christian Counselor Association in Sarasota, Fl. and a 2016 graduate from Winchester School of Christian Counseling and Seminary.  Dr. Deml additionally holds a BSN in nursing from the University of Maryland and a master’s in education ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Chamber Calendar Of Events Nov. 20-24

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21 Red Bank Council Meeting 12:00-1:00 p.m. Red Bank Community Center: Tom Weathers Drive, behind Erlanger North Speaker: Senator Bo Watson Meetings cost $10. .............................. .............................. .............................. .... (click for more)

Longest-Serving County Official Knowles Is First In Line To Sign Up For New Term

Bill Knowles is one of the longest-serving officials in Hamilton County history, and he's not through yet. County clerk since 1974, he was the first in line on Friday morning to pick up his petition for re-election. Then he beat everyone back with the completed form. Mr. Knowles said, "I ran in 1974 on a campaign of ending the long tag lines. We put in a tax by mail system ... (click for more)

River Gorge Explorer Will Log Final Cruises In January

After operating on the Tennessee River for more than nine years, Aquarium President and CEO Keith Sanford informed staff and volunteers that cruise operations aboard the River Gorge Explorer will be ending in January. “After developing a new strategic plan and carefully evaluating the Aquarium’s resources, we have decided to stop operating the boat,” said Mr. Sanford. “We are ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Should Be Problem Solvers Around The City

Re: Roy Exum’s “Stay, Signal Mountain, Stay”  Well this article is something to think about. I think the split could go either way, and Signal Mountain schools would still flourish, as they have done for the past several years. What I'm worried about is why Signal Mountain has not yet had the guts to go be problem solvers at Howard, or Tyner, or Central. Why do ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: How Would I Vote?

I don’t know what to think or who to believe in the debacle surrounding Alabama’s Roy Moore and his quest for a Senate seat. I have no earthly idea what he did or how he acted 40 years ago. Heck, I can’t remember what I did or how I acted 40 years ago but I do recall I kissed some minors back then. To be real honest, they were the only ones that would let me, this because I was ... (click for more)