Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter announced Ben Lomand as the recipient of nearly $24 million comprised of two broadband grants for unserved areas of Cumberland and Coffee Counties. The grants are part of the Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund – American Rescue Plan (TEBF-ARP). Ben Lomand will be matching with a thirty percent contribution.
The funds allow builds that bring fiber-to-the-home to businesses and residents, enabling access to synchronous gigabit service. This will be available to approximately 7,000 households and businesses in Cumberland County and over 100 in Coffee County, allowing for substantial growth in education, employment, and community support services such as telehealth and law enforcement.
Mayor Judd Matheny of Coffee County stated, “Ben Lomand and I have had a great working relationship for 20+ years. I am very proud of their service record, products, and customer service. Coffee County is in good hands with Ben Lomand, and this award underscores that.” Coffee County garnered $1,422,272 in grant dollars, and when combined with the ARP funding from the county the fiber footprint will cover over 3,000 homes.
TNECD received 218 applications, and Cumberland County is the largest single grant award. Ben Lomand received the second largest award for telecommunication companies in total grant dollars awarded. The grant recipients were chosen through rigorous criteria, including the grant area’s need, the ability to complete the project, and strong community support.
This round of grants awarded $446 million to 58 counties that will expand service to support more than 150,000 unserved homes according to the new threshold set at anything less than 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.
Ben Lomand Connect was incorporated on October 2, 1952, to provide local telephone service to rural middle Tennessee. The cooperative has grown to over 22,000 phone lines and close to 28,000 broadband connections to residential and business customers. Over the last three decades, Ben Lomand Connect has laid over 4,200 miles of fiber throughout our area. Ben Lomand Connect also offers many other services, including video (BLTV), security (Ben Lomand Security), hosted IP solutions (phone systems), and managed IT.