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Tennessee Officials Make Presentation of $1.725M Broadband Grant

In January of this year, DTC Communications was awarded a $1.725M grant to make more high-speed broadband Internet available to rural Tennesseans in Wilason and Smith Counties. On Friday, June 15, officials from the State of Tennessee made the presentation of the grant funds to DTC CEO, Chris Townson, during a special ceremony.


The presentation was made at Haley Farms, located on Haley Road in Watertown. Amanda Martin, Broadband Director for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD), Crystal Ivey, Broadband Grant Program Manager, and Sammie Arnold, Assistant Commissioner of Strategy and Legislative Affairs made the presentation at the ceremony, which included comments from Townson and Martin, as well as various state and local officials in attendance. Haley Farms owner, Bob Haley, also led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.


“DTC Communications exists to improve the quality of life for our members and the region we serve,” stated CEO Chris Townson. “Receiving this grant from the TNECD allows DTC to extend the reach of our mission to serve the unserved and underserved in portions of Wilson and Smith Counties. DTC’s new fiber optic network in the grant areas means enhanced E-Connectivity, which is the foundation for better education, entertainment, economic development, government, business and more - DTC Fiber means opportunity.”


The grant is a product of Governor Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act, and was awarded by the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development.


“In communities across Tennessee, broadband is an essential service that will increase economic investment and growth to help businesses, families and individuals thrive,” Governor Haslam said, in announcing the grant recipients back in January. “With the assistance of these grants, underserved communities will now have access to broadband that will benefit not only the communities themselves, but the state as a whole. These grants are a step in the right direction for our state and will help Tennessee reach its full potential.”


DTC Communications serves residents in Cannon, DeKalb, Rutherford, Smith and Wilson counties. The grant covers areas near Plunkett Creek and Rawls Creek roads in Smith County and areas near Watertown in Wilson County. 


“Having DTC’s broadband internet impacts not only individuals in Smith County, but the local economy as well,” said Smith County Mayor, Michael Nesbitt. “This grant is helping DTC extend fiber to several local residents in a completely unserved area.  It is exciting that people without quality internet today will soon be connected with world-class gigabit service, meaning they will have access to emergency services, can do homework or classes online, seek out new jobs, or even work from home. This project matters to the people of Smith County.  Thank you to the Department of Economic and Community Development, our state and local leaders, to DTC, and all that worked on this grant. It is a tremendous assett having a rural telecommunication cooperative in our community.”


“I’m so thankful for people like DTC, our Tennessee Economic Development, and county commissioners that fight for our rural area. With DTC’s investment and grant money received, this will make tremendous differences in the lives of our people,” said Wilson County Mayor, Randall Hutto. “This is a huge deal for Wilson County. I can’t thank the folks who’ve been involved with this enough. My hat’s off to them for making a difference in the lives of the individuals in Wilson County and in Smith County, so again thanks to DTC for what they’ve done to make this happen.”


With the TNECD grant, more than 800 residents, who currently do not have quality internet, will now have access to high speed fiber service.


“DTC is proud to have a long history of serving rural Tennesseans,” said Townson. “We are thankful for the opportunities this grant provides. The benefits of building a fiber optic network in this area will be experienced for generations to come.”


DTC Communications is a member owned telephone cooperative established in 1951. The cooperative supplies communication and entertainment products and services to residential and business customers primarily throughout Middle Tennessee. #RuralTN





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