At least three Upper Cumberland counties will be included in the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s (TDECD) next round of broadband expansion.
Twin Lakes will help expand broadband services in the area of Jackson, Putnam, and Smith Counties as part of a $1.2 million project.
Jackson County Mayor Randy Heady said the project greatly benefit rural communities like Granville.
“More and more people work from home, have internet businesses… and this really helps with recruitment,” Heady said. “Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about this. We voted over a year ago to become a broadband-ready community and this just makes us one step closer to that being who we are.”
Heady said expanding broadband helps provide additional resources to those in rural areas.
“I know that we have areas in the county, not many, but we do have areas where if they wanted to do Telemed and send a video, that’s huge,” Heady said. “That will benefit those people. It could also be a benefit for people going to school from home, which is a huge cost saver.”
Heady gave credit to Twin Lakes for helping land the project, saying the telecommunications company has helped expand broadband to several rural areas within the Upper Cumberland.
“I appreciate having a partner like Twin Lakes. They’re a huge partner with Jackson County and the other counties of the Upper Cumberland,” Heady said. “It’s just really good to have a co-op not just involved, but on the front end of getting the rural counties broadband-ready and moving forward instead of sitting back and waiting like so many of them have.”
Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter said he would like to see continued broadband expansion moving forward.
“I know the northern part of our county relies on DSL. There’s a lot in that area that has not seen the fiber expansion that’s happening,” Porter said, “and I think probably the very southern and eastern parts of our county, the very rural edges around our county, have not seen any expansion in quite some time. I would hope we see more in the future with these grants.”
A timeline on the project has not been announced at this time. Smith County was selected for broadband expansion last year near Dixon Springs as part of a $3.3 million project.