NCTC Receives Second Grant for Smith County Broadband
8:59AM February 17, 2020
NCTC Receives Second Grant for Smith County Broadband
On February 13, 2020, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has invested $9 million in
four, high-speed broadband infrastructure projects that will create or improve
rural e-Connectivity for 3,744 rural households, 31 businesses, 41 farms and a
critical community facility in Tennessee. North Central Communications, a
subsidiary of NCTC, is one of these recipients.
This is one of many funding announcements in the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments.
“Our core mission at USDA is to increase rural prosperity
through boosting economic opportunity in rural America,” Perdue said. “We know
that rural communities need robust, modern infrastructure to thrive, and that
includes having access to broadband e-Connectivity. Under the leadership of
President Trump, USDA is proud to partner with rural communities to deploy this
critical infrastructure, because we know when rural America thrives, all of
NCTC/North Central Communications, Inc. is the recipient of a
$1.4 million ReConnect Program grant to provide broadband service to residents
and businesses in rural Smith County. The funded service areas include 164
households, 10 pre-subscribed businesses and 21 pre-subscribed farms spread
over 22 square miles.
McClanahan, president and CEO of NCTC and North Central Communications
expressed his gratitude to the USDA for its efforts in providing funding to the
deserving residents of Smith County.
“Without USDA RUS support we would not have been able to provide this
service to our customers. We are extremely grateful and supportive of the many
initiatives sponsored by the USDA RUS and the positive impact on our
communities,” stated McClanahan.
will be serving the Beasley Bend area of Riddleton in Smith County. The USDA
will provide approximately $1.5 million, and NCTC will provide approx. $.5
million in funding to build fiber in the rural western portion of the Smith
County area. This area consists of rugged terrain including farm land,
hillsides, and sharp ridges. The residents have no access to broadband speed
services, and many are unable to get reliable landline service.
has three years from the time the grant is awarded to complete construction and
begin providing service to the affected residents.
In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand
broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On Dec. 13, 2018,
Secretary Perdue announced the rules of the program, called “ReConnect,”
including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband
infrastructure in rural America. USDA received 146 applications between May 31,
2019, and July 12, 2019, requesting $1.4 billion in funding across all three
ReConnect Program funding products: 100 percent loan, 100 percent grant, and
loan-grant combinations. USDA is reviewing applications and announcing approved
projects on a rolling basis. Additional investments in all three categories
will be made in the coming weeks.
These grants, loans and combination funds enable the federal
government to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build
modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service.
Insufficient service is defined as connection speeds of less than 10 megabits
per second (Mbps) download and 1 Mbps upload.
In December 2019, Agriculture Secretary Perdue announced USDA
will be making available an additional $550 million in ReConnect funding in
2020. USDA will make available up to $200 million for grants, up to $200
million for 50/50 grant/loan combinations, and up to $200 million for
low-interest loans. The application window for this round of funding will open
Jan. 31, 2020. Applications for all funding products will be accepted in the
same application window, which will close no later than March 16, 2020.
A full description of 2020 ReConnect Pilot Program funding is
available on page 67913 of the Dec. 12, 2019, Federal Register (PDF, 336 KB). To learn more
about eligibility, technical assistance and recent announcements, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to
identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote
agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary
Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings
included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local
and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural
America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation
of the task force. To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force
on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to
view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand
economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports
infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community
facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed
internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/tn.