Governor To Sign Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act Tuesday in Brownsville

Monday, May 15, 2017 | 3:57pm

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will hold a bill signing ceremony Tuesday, May 16, for the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act at H&R Agri-Power in Brownsville. Haslam will be joined by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville), Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Rep. David Hawk (R-Greeneville) and Brownsville Mayor Bill Rawls.                                                                                                        

WHO:             Gov. Bill Haslam          

WHAT:           Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act Bill Signing

WHEN:           Tuesday, May 16, 1:30 p.m. CDT

WHERE:         H&R Agri-Power

                         2262 Anderson Ave., Brownsville, TN

MEDIA:          Open, avail

The Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act will increase broadband access to Tennessee’s unserved citizens. The bill provides $45 million over three years in grants and tax credits for service providers to assist in making broadband available to unserved homes and businesses. The plan will also permit Tennessee’s private, nonprofit electric cooperatives to provide retail broadband service and make grant funding available to the state’s local libraries to help residents improve their digital literacy skills and maximize the benefits of broadband.

Tennessee currently ranks 29th in the U.S. for broadband access, with 34 percent of rural Tennessee residents lacking access at recognized minimum standards.

The House of Representatives passed HB 529/SB 1215 93-4 on April 10, and the Senate passed the legislation 31-0 on April 3. The legislation came after a year of study and stakeholder conversations by the administration.

The Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act is part of Haslam’s NextTennessee legislative plan aimed at building and sustaining economic growth and the state’s competitiveness for the next generation of Tennesseans.  

The bill signing ceremony will precede a meeting of the Governor’s Rural Development Task Force.