UPDATE: Birchwood Project, South Meigs Project, Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund Projects, Broadband Accessibility Grant, USDA Community Connect Grant
1:42PM February 12, 2021
Birchwood: Phase 2 of the Birchwood project is nearly complete. All of the overhead fiber has been installed, and the installation of the underground fiber is underway. Splicing and testing is ongoing. As soon as everything is finished, the second phase will be released for connection. In the mean time, construction of the overhead fiber in Phase 3 has already started. Look for the entire project to be completed in early 2021.
South Meigs: VEC is currently working through the environmental review for the South Meigs project. Because the grant which funded this project is from a federal source, the project startup will take more time than usual. We hope to begin construction during the summer of 2021.
Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund (TEBF) grants: VEC was awarded 3 grants from the TEBF in August 2020. All three projects were completed on or before December 15th, and we are currently connecting subscribers. If you live in Ten Mile, South Roane County, Cumberland Cove, or on Ooltewah Georgetown Road, and live within one of these completed zones of service, contact Twin Lakes to have your installation scheduled as soon as possible.
2020 Broadband Accessibility Grant: VEC was notified that the grant we submitted on behalf of Cottonport Road has been selected as a finalist for a 2020 Broadband Accessibility grant. This does not guarantee that a grant will be awarded, but it does mean our chances are greatly improved. We hope to have additional information to share about this grant in the upcoming months.
On December 23, 2020, the cooperative submitted a application to the USDA for a Community Connect Grant. If awarded, this grant will provide service to Eastern Bradley County / Western Polk County, around the Chatata Valley area. We hope to hear something about this application later this summer or in the early fall.
Besides these updates, Governor Lee announced his 2021 budget earlier this week, which includes $200 million dollars for additional broadband expansion in rural Tennessee. As soon as these funds become available, VEC will be submitting additional (multiple) applications to secure as much of the funding as possible for our members.