Regulations for Public and Cooperative Broadband Joint Ventures

Tennessee Legislature

Program Type:


Eligible Geography:



Tennessee Code Ann. ยง 7-59-316 requires that county, municipal, or cooperative-owned telecommunications joint ventures only provide broadband service in historically unserved areas.

A county, municipality, or cooperative is authorized to participate in a telecommunications joint venture that is created to provide broadband services to areas within the jurisdiction of the municipality, county or cooperative that has been determined to be an historically unserved area, meaning that the area does not have access to broadband Internet services, has been an area developed for residential use for more than five (5) years, and is outside the service area of a video or cable service local franchise holder or the franchise area of a holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority.

Any municipality or county government seeking to establish a joint venture as provided in this part shall apply to the department for a finding that the area is historically unserved and that no private provider intends to serve that area. The applicant shall provide a copy of the application to all telecommunications providers offering service in the area applied for and to all holders of state-issued certificates of franchise authority or local franchises in areas within fifty (50) miles of the area applied for, referred to in this subsection (d) as area broadband providers, at the same time it submits its application to the department.

A telecommunications joint venture may be subsidized by one or more of the participants, provided that the venture pays applicable taxes; compliance with any existing contract limiting cross-subsidies of services with electricity revenues; and comply with all regulations governing cooperatives. It is the legislative intent that any joint venture established under this section shall not be subsidized by revenues from power or other utility operations.

Telecommunications joint ventures governed under this statute are unable to collect pole attachment charges in excess of 50% of the rate set on 2008 from other ventures expanding into a historically unserved area. Municipality and cooperative owned entities are required to provide access to all poles and conduits located in public rights-of-way.

Eligible Recipients:

Non-Profit Organization; Local Government

Eligible Recipients Detail:

County, municipal, or cooperative-owned telecommunications providers.

Eligible Purpose:

Last Mile Infrastructure; Middle Mile Infrastructure

Eligible Purpose Detail:

Regulations governing the ability of counties, municipalities, and cooperatives to form telecommunications joint ventures.