Skip to Main Content

Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Grant

Broadband Accessibility Grants
The Broadband Accessibility Grant Program is designed to offset the capital expenses in the deployment of broadband in unserved areas.  The goal of this program is to facilitate broadband access to all Tennesseans while promoting practices that increase deployment and encourage adoption.  Funds will be targeted to areas that are unlikely to receive broadband service without grant funding.  


September 7, 2017   Applications Available  
September 8,2017 Webinar (10-11am CDT) |  View Webinar  
September 12,2017 Webinar (2-3pm CDT)  | View Webinar  
September 13, 2017 West TN Regional Meeting (Jackson, 10-11 am CDT) | View Invitation  
September 15,2017 East TN Regional Meeting (Knoxville, 11-12 pm EDT) | View Invitation  
September 21, 2017 Middle TN Regional Meeting (Nashville, 1-2 pm CDT) | View Invitation  
November 13, 2017 Questions Due by 5 pm CST  
November 17, 2017 Applications Due by 5 pm CST  
November 22, 2017 Application Descriptions Posted and Public Comment Period Begins  
December 15, 2017 Public Comment Period Closes  
January 2018  Grantees Announced and Contracts Begin  

**Projects must be completed within 2 years of the start of contract.


Checklist: (if these criteria are not met, the application will not be scored)
_____  The application was submitted on time and complete.
_____  The applicant is legally authorized to provide broadband in the proposed service area.
_____  The proposed service area does not have a 10/1 terrestrial, fixed connection.




Points Possible

Need for Grant Funding

Receipt of any federal funding that will result in the provision of at least 10/1 service in the proposed area


Likelihood that area will not be served without state grant funding


Leveraged and Match Funds

Additional match provided by grantee or local leveraged funds (cannot be from another federal or state program)


Speed, Scalability and Affordability

Scalability of technology will provide a long-term solution for the community.  Speed and affordability are competitive and will meet community needs.


Sustainability and Implementation Readiness

Technical, managerial, and financial capabilities of the applicant demonstrating the ability to complete the proposed project


Economic and Community Impact

Economic development impact


Community need


Community anchor institutions served


Adoption Strategy

Plan to encourage adoption of broadband services


Community Support

Partnerships and support from local community


Broadband Ready

Serves a political subdivision designated as a Broadband Ready Community






The grant application contains two sections: Applicant Info and Grant Application.

Applicants submitting more than one application should complete the applicant info section once and the grant application section for each individual project.

No incomplete or late applications will be accepted.

Applicants must be authorized to provide retail broadband in the area proposed to be served with grant funding. 

Applications must include a written description and map file (acceptable formats:  .shp, .kml, .kmz) of the proposed service area.

Eligible project costs are costs associated with the installation and/or acquisition of middle-mile and last-mile broadband infrastructure that supports broadband service at the locations and speeds identified in the application.

  • Examples:  Project planning, obtaining construction permits, construction of facilities, equipment, installation, and test of service.

Funds disbursement will occur on a reimbursable basis.  Grant closeout and final 15% of grant funds will require certification of the completed build and verification of service level provided.

Projects must be completed within 2 years of the start of the contract.  TNECD reserves the right to require an accountability agreement from the grantee in addition to the grant contract.

TNECD reserves the right to amend project scope and/or partially fund applications.


Match Requirement

A cash-only match is required; no in-kind match will be accepted.

Applicants with additional local match or leveraged funds will receive additional points in the scoring process. Federal grant or other federal broadband funding is not an eligible match.

The grant will cover up to a certain percentage of eligible project expenses depending on the current broadband service level of the county to be served:

  • 70%:  Counties with more than 50% of the population without broadband
  • 60%:  Counties with 25-50% of the population without broadband
  • 50%:  Counties with less than 25% of the population without broadband access
  • Match rates from projects serving multiple counties will be determined by averaging the match rates from the counties to be served.


Any questions regarding this application must be submitted in writing via email by November 13,
2017 at 5:00pm CST to:
Recipient: Crystal Ivey, Broadband Grant and Program Manager, at
Subject Line: TNECD Broadband Accessibility Grant Application Question

Applications must be received online by
November 17, 2017 at 5:00pm CST.

Public Comment

To ensure transparency and best use of taxpayer funds, the application process includes a public comment period. 

Below are descriptions of the applications received including the proposed service areas. Please complete the form below if you wish to comment on an application.

The online public comment period will last from November 22, 2017 until December 15, 2017.

Providers are encouraged to submit comments and corresponding documentation if:

  • The area proposed to be served already has service available;  
  • Construction is underway in the area proposed to be served and will be completed within 12 months; or
  • The area proposed to be served is in future expansion plans.

Where evidence demonstrates that an area is currently served (with a 10/1 fixed, terrestrial connection) that area will be disqualified.  Documentation that shows that a provider anticipates serving an area in the future will be factored into the scoring to demonstrate that the area is likely to be served without grant funding. 

Application Applicant Project Name Amount Technology Proposed Service Area Shapefile

Comment on Application