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TEC VP of Operations, James Garner, talks funding broadband on ‘Lead Tennessee Radio’

TEC partnerships are critical for broadband expansion

James Garner, vice president of operations at TEC, was a recent guest on the podcast “Lead Tennessee Radio”. The show is produced by the Tennessee Broadband Association.

In the podcast interview with TNBA Executive Director Levoy Knowles, Garner discussed technology funding for rural Tennessee and the importance of public-private partnerships to connect rural America to broadband.

“Those private-public partnerships are critical in all cases when extending broadband,” Garner said.

TEC recently received an $826,000 grant to extend broadband to 281 households in Carroll County. With matching funds, the total investment is more than $1.8 million, which involves a leasing agreement from Carroll County Electric.

“Without the lease from Carroll County Electric Department, we might not have been able to make this project fly from a business perspective,” Garner said.

To increase public access to broadband in the region, TEC has donated laptops and 36 months of fiber connectivity to McLemoresville Activity Center and the Public Safety Building in Huntingdon.

Garner also discussed the nearly $10 million investment TEC has made in the region to expand broadband and how the recent coronavirus pandemic has made funding broadband expansion more important than ever.

“With adequate funding, every house in this country could have fiber broadband within the next five years,” he said.

The “Lead Tennessee Radio” podcast is an opportunity to discuss issues facing Tennessee with state leaders and lawmakers. Past episodes feature House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville; Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge; House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland; Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin; and many more.

“The cooperative and independent telecommunications companies who comprise the TNBA are working hard to ensure that everyone in rural Tennessee has access to this life-changing technology,” said Levoy Knowles, TNBA executive director and host of the show. “This podcast is a great opportunity to have conversations with state and industry leaders who are on the front lines working for a connected Tennessee.”

“Lead Tennessee Radio” can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play, as well as

The Tennessee Broadband Association is comprised of independent and cooperatively owned companies that connect almost 30 percent of the state with broadband and related services. Together these companies are investing millions of dollars to connect rural Tennesseans with fiber networks.