2018 Tennessee Code
Title 4 - State Government
Chapter 3 - Creation, Organization and Powers of Administrative Departments and Divisions
Part 7 - Department of Economic and Community Development
§ 4-3-708. Broadband accessibility grant program.
(a) The commissioner of economic and community development is authorized to establish and administer the broadband accessibility grant program, referred to in this section as the "program," for the purpose of promoting the deployment and adoption of broadband internet access services, referred to in this section as "broadband services."
(b) The program is funded through the Tennessee broadband accessibility fund, referred to in this section as the "fund," established as a separate account in the general fund. Subject to the availability of revenue at the end of each fiscal year, the commissioner of finance and administration is authorized to carry forward any amounts remaining in the fund or transfer any part of the fund to the revenue fluctuation reserve. Moneys in the fund shall be invested by the state treasurer pursuant to title 9, chapter 4, part 6 for the sole benefit of the fund.
(c) The fund is subject to appropriations by the general assembly and gifts, grants, and other donations received by the department of economic and community development for the program or fund.
(d) The program is administered pursuant to policies developed by the department. The policies must provide for the awarding of grants to political subdivisions or entities of political subdivisions, corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships or other business entities that provide broadband services; cooperatives organized under the Rural Electric and Community Services Cooperative Act, compiled in title 65, chapter 25, or the Telephone Cooperative Act, compiled in title 65, chapter 29; and any other entity authorized by state law to provide broadband services.
(e) Grants must be awarded to promote the deployment and adoption of broadband services with minimum download speeds of ten megabits per second (10 Mbps) and minimum upload speeds of one megabit per second (1 Mbps) to locations without broadband services at these minimum speeds. Grants must be awarded pursuant to criteria developed by the department of economic and community development, with priority given to projects that:
(1) Serve locations without access to download speeds of at least ten megabits per second (10 Mbps) and upload speeds of at least one megabit per second (1 Mbps);
(2) Propose to acquire and install infrastructure that supports broadband services scalable to higher download and upload speeds. However, this priority shall not take precedence over serving a greater number of locations or larger area;
(3) Serve locations with demonstrated community support, including, but not limited to, documented support from the political subdivision or the political subdivision receiving designation as a broadband ready community pursuant to § 4-3-709;
(4) Have not received funds or have not been designated to receive funds through other state or federally funded grant programs designed specifically to encourage broadband deployment in an area within a location without the minimum speeds as described in this subsection (e); and
(5) Will provide higher download and upload speeds of broadband service to the locations served.
(f) Notwithstanding subsection (e), the department may award a portion of grant funds to local libraries in this state for the purpose of assisting the libraries in offering digital literacy training pursuant to state library and archives guidelines.
(g) Moneys in the fund may be used by the department of economic and community development for the purpose of administering the program. However, the expenses incurred to administer the program must not exceed five percent (5%) of the total amount appropriated for the program in any fiscal year.
(h) For any year in which grants are distributed under the program, the department shall produce a report on the status of grants under the program, including progress toward increased access to and adoption of broadband services. The report must be provided to the governor, speaker of the house of representatives, and speaker of the senate and published on the department's website.