close-up image of a monitor

TEC Awarded $2,000,000 Grant to Connect More of Benton County

Erin, TN — TEC, a leading provider of rural fiber broadband in Tennessee, will bring Fast Fiber Internet to more of the Big Sandy and Holladay communities. TEC was one of 13 service providers awarded broadband accessibility grants from Governor Bill Lee and the Department of Economic and Community Development. The $14.9M in broadband accessibility grants will continue to bridge the digital divide for rural Tennesseans. TEC was awarded $2M to increase internet connectivity in Benton county and will contribute an additional $2.8M for a total investment of $4.8M.

TEC’s goal is to minimize the broadband access gap by providing a reliable, high-quality, and affordable internet solution. Dependable fiber internet connections offer improved quality of life through telemedicine, distance learning, and work from home options. Additionally, high-speed broadband provides personal enjoyment, such as streaming videos or gaming. Customer needs are changing when it comes to internet usage during these unprecedented times; there is now a crucial need for working, learning, communicating, and having the capability to access essential online services.

TEC extends a sincere thank you to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Crystal Ivey, Broadband Director Community and Rural Development for this award. TEC expresses gratitude to Brett Lashlee, Mayor of Benton County, for the community support and the desire for improvements to rural Tennessee.

Joey Garner “TEC is thrilled to receive this award from Governor Bill Lee and the Department of Economic and Community Development. We at TEC are dedicated to strengthening communities and enhancing the lives of our customers. We are ready to start construction, building more network and bringing more connections to our neighbors in Tennessee. This grant assists TEC in our commitment to advancing internet capabilities for rural communities; we are thankful for this opportunity,” says Joey Garner, Executive Vice President of TEC.

In this project, TEC will construct over 87 miles of fiber network and provide connections to 883 businesses and residences. Community members will have access to TEC’s Fast Fiber Internet with upload and download speeds of 1 Gig, plus phone and a full suite of business services. Interested customers should submit their information to www.TEC.com/SignUp to request access to Fast Fiber Internet, and ask their neighbors and friends to do the same.

“We are very pleased to see the expansion and creation of new broadband access and opportunities for Benton County, but especially for the North and South end of Benton County as it is one of our most under-served areas, states Benton County Mayor, Brett Lashlee. “Unfortunately, prior to becoming County Mayor, Benton County was ranked 94 out of 95 in broadband accessibility and expanding broadband in the county is one of my highest priorities. Combined with the impact of COVID on our school system, the lack of affordable and quality access has greatly impacted our school’s ability to provide educational instruction via broadband in the homes. TEC’s expansion in multiple areas of Benton County is something we welcome with open arms. TEC is a high quality and affordable provider and I encourage our residents in the TEC coverage areas to seek out TEC’s services and coverage plans for personal, home and business needs. I am very encouraged to see our broadband footprint grow in Benton County and TEC has been an integral part of this expansion of opportunity for our citizens.”

TEC provides economic stability to its local service areas, employing over 200 people across Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and Louisiana. Currently, TEC has invested in and maintains approximately 1,400 miles of fiber in its rural markets. For nearly a century, TEC has been a forerunner in providing telecommunications services to rural America and was the first to bring internet options to many rural markets more than 20 years ago. For more information, visit www.TEC.com.