State Rep. Rusty Grills announces $3.1 million to expand local broadband infrastructure, digital opportunities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Rep. Rusty Grills, R-Newbern, announced $3.1 million in grant funding has been awarded to expand broadband infrastructure and digital program opportunities in Dyer, Lake and Obion Counties.

The counties will receive five separate grants as part of $162.7 million in overall funding administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD). The investments will provide broadband access and digital opportunity programs to more than 236,000 Tennesseans across 92 counties.

“The digital world is growing every day, and I’m excited for the citizens of our community to be able to expand their knowledge with these new programs,” Grills said. “I thank TNECD for their continued investment in Northwest Tennessee and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have.”   

Local grant recipients include:

  • The City of Dyersburg: $1.8 million to construct and improve digital access in Dyer County through the Connected Community Facilities program
  • Dyer County: $99,985 to expand digital skills training and broadband infrastructure through the Broadband Ready Communities (BRC) program 
  • Lake County: $99,600 to expand digital skills training and broadband infrastructure through the BRC program
  • COMPU-DOPT, INC.:  $725,694 to advance digital skills and workforce development by serving parts of Obion, Lake, Dyer and five other counties through the Digital Skills, Education and Workforce (DSEW) program
  • University of Tennessee at Martin: $343,640 to advance digital skills and workforce development by serving Dyer County and two other counties through the DSEW program

Grantees across all programs are investing approximately $48 million in matching funds and will complete their projects by Dec. 31, 2026, according to TNECD.

The TNECD created four grant programs to promote broadband opportunity and high-paying digital jobs and District 77 will receive grants from three of them: Connected Community Facilities (CCF), Broadband Ready Communities (BRC) and Digital Skills, Employment and Workforce Development (DSEW).

CCF grant funds will be used to facilitate digital opportunity by construction or renovation of spaces that offer services for digital advancement in workforce, healthcare and education.

The BRC grant funds support community based digital skills training, public Wi-Fi projects, distribution of free or low-cost devices and marketing for low-cost internet plans.

Lastly, DSEW grant funding will offer a variety of training and education programs to advance digital skills and workforce development, creating a pipeline for well-paying jobs.

In total, TNECD has invested more than $715 million to expand the state’s broadband infrastructure, connecting more than 689,000 Tennesseans across 275,000 residential and business locations.

Additional information on TNECD’s broadband initiatives can be found here.

State Rep. Rusty Grills represents District 77 which includes Dyer, Lake and part of Obion Counties.

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