$6.4 Million In Grant Funding To Expand Local Broadband, Digital Opportunities

  • Thursday, May 23, 2024

Hamilton County House Republican lawmakers on Thursday announced $6.4 million in grant funding will be used to expand broadband availability and access to high-quality, digital jobs locally.

The seven grants are part of $162.7 million in overall funding administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. The investments will provide broadband access and digital opportunity programs to more than 236,000 Tennesseans across 92 counties.

Members of the Hamilton County House Republican delegation include State Representatives Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain, Esther Helton-Haynes, R-East Ridge, Greg Martin, R-Hixson, and Greg Vital, R-Harrison.

“Reliable, high-speed internet access is essential for our communities and their success,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “These strategic investments will improve education and workforce development efforts while also benefiting the local economy. We look forward to the incredible results they will have in Hamilton County.”

Local grant recipients include:

Hamilton County: $1.42 million to improve digital access by construction or renovation of facilities through the Connected Community Facilities program

ArtsBuild: $185,871 to advance digital skills and workforce development through the Digital Skills, Education and Workforce program

Dynamo Studios: $997,931 to advance digital skills and workforce development through the DSEW program

gener8tor Management, LLC: $899,999 to advance digital skills and workforce development by serving parts of Hamilton and nine other counties through the DSEW program

La Paz Chattanooga: $723,322 to advance digital skills and workforce development through the DSEW program

Southeast Tennessee Development District: $198,000 to advance digital skills and workforce development by serving parts of Hamilton and nine other counties through the DSEW program

The Enterprise Center: $1.98 million to advance digital skills and workforce development by serving parts of Hamilton and nine other counties through the DSEW program

The Last Mile and Middle Mile grant programs assist with capital expenses related to broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas of Tennessee. They are part of a broader strategy to ensure every resident has access to high-speed internet by 2028.

Additionally, TNECD has launched four new programs to promote broadband opportunity and high-paying digital jobs statewide. DSEW grants support a variety of training and education programs to advance digital skills and workforce development, creating a pipeline for well-paying digital jobs. CCF grants support construction and renovation of spaces that offer services for digital advancement in workforce, health care and education. BRC grants support community-based digital skills training, public Wi-Fi projects, distribution of free or low-cost devices and marketing for low-cost internet plans. TCAT Broadband Workforce grants will help develop a well-trained and diverse telecommunications workforce capable of deploying and managing broadband infrastructure through a Telecommunications Electronics Technician diploma course.

TNECD’s most recent broadband infrastructure grants will provide access to more than 58,200 Tennesseans in 37 counties. In all, the department 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.

All grant recipients must complete their projects by Dec. 31, 2026.

Additional information about Tennessee’s broadband initiatives can be found here.

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