Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Tennessee Broadband Initiative

Summary:

The Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund utilizes a portion of the State of Tennessee’s federal aid known as the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to enhance broadband infrastructure and access to individuals and families affected during the COVID-19 pandemic by the lack of broadband access in their area.
- Projects must meet the CRF criteria, which is designed to address public health and safety by improving opportunities for telemedicine, distance learning, and public safety.
- The total amount of funding dedicated to this program will be determined by the TN Financial Stimulus Accountability Group, based on availability of funds and quality of applications received.

This program is designed to support:
-Unserved or underserved locations lacking all equipment necessary to provide a fixed, terrestrial 25mb/3mb broadband connection capable of supporting two-way video communication necessary to participate in telemedicine, distance learning, and telecommuting at the time of award.
-The Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) project completion timeframe requirement does not allow for the detailed service verification process employed with the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility grant program. Instead, providers are required to self-certify that existing service providing a fixed, terrestrial 25mb/3mb connection capable of supporting two-way video communication necessary for telemedicine, distance learning and teleworking is unavailable to locations.
-Grantees found to have falsely claimed area eligibility may be subject to the State’s rescindment of grant funds.

Eligible Recipients:

For-Profit Business; Internet Service Provider; Local Government; Non-Profit Organization

Eligible Recipients Detail:

Entities legally are those authorized to provide broadband in the State of Tennessee including but not limited to cable providers, electric and telephone cooperatives, fixed wireless providers, municipal broadband providers, telecommunications providers, and satellite providers.

Eligible Purpose:

Last Mile Connectivity

Eligible Purpose Detail:

Eligible expenses are those necessary to provide broadband service supporting the needs outlined above to an end user where it was previously unavailable.
- Expenses will fall into the following categories.
o Complete project costs comprising of shovel-ready infrastructure deployment where planning and engineering design have been completed and necessary permits are executed. Expenses could include:
▪ Construction
▪ Materials
▪ Equipment
▪ Service delivery validation
o Partial project costs necessary to serve end users in areas where infrastructure already exists but service is not yet available to specific grant locations. Expenses could include but are not limited to:
▪ Service drops
▪ Optical network terminals, modems, and other end user equipment
▪ Fixed wireless customer premise equipment and antennas
▪ Satellite equipment
o Public wi-fi access. Expenses could include but are not limited to:
▪ Construction of infrastructure necessary to provide Wi-Fi connection
▪ Wi-Fi access points at community locations
▪ Wi-Fi rangers for buses
- Note that expenses necessary to operate and maintain the network are solely the responsibility of the grant recipient.

Funding Match/Terms:

Funds are available to cover 80% of the project costs with a required grantee cash match of 20%. Federal grant and in-kind funds do not qualify as grantee match.