Bledsoe Telephone Cooperative Awarded More Than $700,000 In State Broadband Grants

Monday, March 18, 2019
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced today that BTC Communications, a subsidiary of Bledsoe Telephone Cooperative, has been awarded $701,120.16 under its Broadband Accessibility Grant program.

The cooperative will match these funds, investing a total of $1,402,240.32 to build a ?ber network in the Walden’s Ridge community in Rhea County.

“This was a highly competitive grant process, and we are thrilled to have been chosen from among the many companies who applied,” said Charles Boring, general manager of Bledsoe Telephone and BTC Communications.
“This grant will help us deliver broadband to an area of the state that desperately needs access.”

The project calls for building a ?ber network in the Walden’s Ridge community. Bledsoe Telephone applied last fall for what was the second round of Tennessee’s broadband grant program.

"Broadband has become a vital lifeline to our rural communities in Tennessee, including those in Rhea County," said Senator Ken Yager, who represents the grant area as part of his district. "I'm pleased to see the governor's grant program leveraging state dollars with investment and expertise from Bledsoe Telephone to make sure our residents don't get left behind.”

Many residents in the a?ected communities submitted testimony to support the grant application, citing how a lack of reliable broadband negatively impacts their quality of life in areas such as education, business opportunities, health care, family and safety.

"If you look at the numbers, a reliable high-speed broadband connection improves the quality of life for people in many di?erent areas," said Representative Ron Travis, who also represents the grant area. "The internet connections made possible by the governor's grant and by Bledsoe Telephone's hard work, will help this area economically, educationally and in the overall quality of life for decades to come."

When completed, the network will make high-speed broadband internet access available to 456 homes.

“This program is a strong example of how we can solve the challenge of rural broadband in this state,” said Levoy Knowles, executive director of the Tennessee Telecommunications Association. “This public/private partnership resulted in a major investment in rural broadband last year, and we’re proud to continue that partnership with today’s announcements.”

The TTA membership includes Bledsoe Telephone and other telecommunications cooperatives, along with independent commercial companies that provide broadband and phone service.

The Broadband Accessibility Grant program, started under former Governor Bill Haslam’s tenure, appears set to continue under the new administration, officials said. Governor Bill Lee’s proposed state budget increases the program by $5 million to a total of $20 million for the next round.

Gas Prices Drop 0.8 Cents In Chattanooga

Chattanooga Chamber Calendar Of Events For Jan. 24-28

TN Unemployment Rate Reaches Its Lowest Level Since January 2020


Average gasoline prices in Chattanooga have fallen 0.8 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $2.94 per gallon on Monday, according to GasBuddy's survey of 170 stations in Chattanooga. ... (click for more)

Jan. 25, [online] East Brainerd Council Meeting noon-1 p.m. Join us for a mid-year update from East Brainerd Elementary. We will also discuss plans to move back to in-person meetings and ... (click for more)

Unemployment in the state of Tennessee reached a two-year low in December, according to new data released by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The state ended 2021 with an unemployment ... (click for more)



Business

Gas Prices Drop 0.8 Cents In Chattanooga

Average gasoline prices in Chattanooga have fallen 0.8 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $2.94 per gallon on Monday, according to GasBuddy's survey of 170 stations in Chattanooga. Prices in Chattanooga are 3.0 cents per gallon higher than a month ago and stand 82.0 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Chamber Calendar Of Events For Jan. 24-28

Jan. 25, [online] East Brainerd Council Meeting noon-1 p.m. Join us for a mid-year update from East Brainerd Elementary. We will also discuss plans to move back to in-person meetings and things to look forward to in 2022. Join us at noon on Zoom. Register here . No cost. Jan. 27, [in-person] Enterprise/Gateway Council Meeting 8-9:30 a.m. Chattanooga State ... (click for more)

Breaking News

3 More County Schools Shift To Remote Learning Due To High COVID Numbers

Three more county schools have switched to remote learning due to high COVID-19 numbers. School officials said, "The health and well-being of all Hamilton County students and staff has and will always be our highest priority. We are monitoring the current wave of COVID-19 spreading across our community and schools. Current state law does not permit the entire school district ... (click for more)

Firefighters Battle 2 Sunday Morning Restaurant Fires

Several LongHorn Steakhouse employees acted fast Sunday morning when a fire in the kitchen got out of control, safely exiting the restaurant and calling 911 for help. Multiple CFD Red Shift companies responded to the business at 5771 Brainerd Road. The kitchen hood was on fire and flames were coming through the hood vent on the roof. A second alarm was called to bring additional ... (click for more)

Opinion

Earl Freudenberg: Johnny Haynes Overcame His Disability To Become A Police Department Fixture

Johnny Haynes was a special person. Under almost clear skies and 45 degree temperatures, he was buried Saturday afternoon when a small group of his friends gathered at Greenwood Cemetery off Wilcox Boulevard for the committal service. The retired Chattanooga Police Department employee has been my friend since 1962. The Central High School graduate was born with polio but was ... (click for more)

Employers Broke The Social Contract - And Response

Along with our trust, most employers are going to need to give those who participated in the great resignation something to hold onto. The cliché during the pandemic is that we’re all in the same storm, not the same boat. Some of you are in yachts while the rest of us are drowning, grasping at driftwood. For some it’s being deep in medical debt, for others they suffer from burnout ... (click for more)