Members of the Tennessee Telecommunications Association (TTA) announced the Department of Economic and Community Development has awarded more than $8-million in grants through the Broadband Accessibility Grant program.

The grants will bring broadband access to 10 counties where more than 3,700 homes and businesses remain unserved.

Rhea County is one of those 10 counties. The TTA says BTC Communications, a subsidiary of Bledsoe Telephone Cooperative, will receive $701,102.16 to serve the Walden’s Ridge Community in Rhea County.

The TTA says the recipients will match the grant money awarded to complete the broadband projects. That means BTC Communications will invest a total of $1,402,240.32 to bring high-speed broadband access to 465 homes in Walden’s Ridge.

The grant comes just weeks after Stulz Air Technology Systems announced it's creating 250 jobs with the company's new facility that will be in Dayton.

Here is a full list of TTA member companies that will receive the grants:

  • BTC Communications (a subsidiary of Bledsoe Telephone Cooperative): $701,102.16 to serve the Walden’s Ridge community of Rhea County
  • Ben Lomand Communications (a subsidiary of Ben Lomand Connect): $1,525,477.78 to serve the Normandy community of Coffee County
  • Loretto Telephone Company: $1,050,000 to serve the St. Joseph area of southern Lawrence County
  • North Central Communications (a subsidiary of North Central Telephone Cooperative): $304,763 to serve the Parker/Thurman area of northern Sumner County
  • Peoples Telephone Company: $186,494 to serve part of the Danville community in Houston County
  • TDS Telecom: $1,490,291 to serve the Vonore community in Monroe County
  • Twin Lakes: $1,233,987.30 to serve North Springs and Highland in Jackson County, Baxter in Putnam County, and Chestnut Mound in Smith County
  • WK&T Telecommunications Cooperative: $2 million to serve a portion of eastern Henry County

TTA Executive Director Levoy Knowles said TTA member companies are encouraged to see that Governor Bill Lee’s proposed state budget increases the Broadband Accessibility Grant Program by $5 million to a total of $20 million for the next round.

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