Carter County Commission approves funds for expanding rural internet access

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ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Carter County Commission approved millions of dollars in funding Monday to help expand internet access in some of the county’s most rural districts.

Commissioners voted to spend $2.5 million on top of $600,000 that was already set aside for the project. The state will also provide more than $7 million. The county’s funds will come from the American Rescue Plan.

The project will expand internet access in county Districts 1, 2, and 6.

“They’re the ones with the least amount of broadband access,” said Robert Acuff, District 1 commissioner. “Obviously, this will be fiber-based. So the capacities are going to be much higher and thereby being able to deliver first to homes at a reasonable cost.”

Acuff said the pandemic has shown the need for internet access with online school, work, and telehealth.

The service will be provided by Sky Best.

The County Commission also approved $100,000 for a chemistry lab at the Workforce Development Complex in Elizabethton. Commissioners said the lab will allow county students to receive dual high school and college credits. Mayor Patty Woodby said the building could be used by students by fall 2022.

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