Tennessee Governor signs legislation encouraging expansion of broadband internet across the state


NASHVILLE, TN (WJHL) — Governor Bill Haslam signed legislation Tuesday to increase broadband internet access in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act permits Tennessee’s private, nonprofit public utilities to provide retail broadband service. The legislation also provides $45 million over three years in grants and tax credits for service providers to assist in making broadband available to homes and businesses in areas where broadband internet is not available.

Tennessee ranks 29th in the United States for broadband access, with 34 percent of rural Tennesseans lacking access at recognized minimum standards.

Governor Haslam held a ceremonial signing of the bill today in Brownsville.

In a news release, Governor Haslam said, “More than 800,000 Tennesseans don’t have access to broadband, and one in three businesses identified it as essential to selecting their location. Spurring deployment in our rural, unserved areas will open them up to economic investment and growth.”

The Governor thanked Rep. David Hawk (R-Greeneville), Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville), and Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) for carring the legislation.

The Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act is part of Governor Haslam’s NextTennessee legislative plan, which aims to build and sustain economic growth in the state of Tennessee.Copyright WJHL 2017. All rights reserved.

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