Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett recently announced that NCTC is the recipient of a $2.8 million USDA Broadband Community Connect grant. It will bring broadband to 278 unserved and underserved households in the Riddleton, Dixon Springs, and Pleasant Shade communities of Smith County as well as an adjacent area in Trousdale County.
“Broadband infrastructure is vital to our economy and quality of life in rural America. Yet, today nearly 40 percent of rural residents and businesses lack access to the same quality service available in urban centers,” Hazlett said in a recent trip to Tennessee and Kentucky.
NCTC CEO Nancy White said, “George McDonald came to us last fall and asked if there was any way that NCTC could help the residents of Smith County who have no internet. Timing was good as the USDA Broadband Grant application window was open. We took a chance, and with the great support of the local residents, Mayor Nesbit and others, we completed the application on time. We are delighted to have won this grant to be able to help our neighbors as we also continue to build fiber to NCTC members inside our service area.”
George McDonald of Catesa Farms lives in the Riddleton area and has worked very closely with NCTC to make this grant a reality. “State of the art equipment will be able to be controlled remotely, and we can now participate in live auctions that we previously could not. We are excited to have these improvements coming to our business and look forward to using dependable high-speed internet to meet our business’s daily needs in an ever-changing world,” said McDonald.
Many residents will be able to work from home, communicate better with their friends and family, and have the reliability of a local provider to connect them to an advanced network like they’ve never experienced before.
Mayor Michael Nesbitt stated, “In today’s world, it is unthinkable that there are areas in the country that cannot even get a landline telephone to dial 911. I am happy to work with NCTC to bring phone access, as well as high-speed broadband, to a section of our county that could not get it otherwise. Rural businesses, students, and others need this service desperately. I am very thankful that we have local cooperatives serving Smith County.”