Infrastructure Grants

BEAD Challenge Process is an opportunity for local governments, nonprofits, and internet service providers to view the state’s internet coverage and challenge ECD’s determination of the internet coverage for locations. Click above to view more information. 


Please see the LM Guidebook for complete grant information


TNECD Last Mile Grant Program – Round 2

The Last Mile Grant program is established for assistance with capital expenses related to last mile broadband deployment in Carroll, Henderson, Unicoi, Johnson, Meigs, Roane, Marshall, and Moore counties. The Last Mile Grant opportunity is funded by the Capital Projects Fund (CPF) of the American Rescue Plan (ARPA). The goal of this program is to facilitate high-speed broadband access, increase deployment, and encourage adoption of broadband in areas of Tennessee that are currently lacking broadband at speeds of 100 megabytes per second (Mbps) download and 20 Mbps upload.

Tennessee HB1211

Tennessee HB1211 is a house bill that went into effect April 28, 2023, and amends Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 3; Title 7; and Titles 65 and 67, relative to broadband services. The following is a general summary of the bill and its relevance to the Middle Mile Grant Opportunity.

This bill increases minimum download speeds from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps and increases minimum upload speeds from 1 Mbps to 20 Mbps. Along with increases in these minimums, the bill also made amendments to the requirements for projects relevant to broadband; a general description of these amendments is as follows:

  • Priority will be given to projects that provide broadband service to the greatest number of locations (vs the largest area) at the highest speeds for the lowest grant amount per location.
  • Projects are not to be disqualified if the funds are used to alleviate costs of the installation of broadband facilities underground, but this bill prohibits the department from awarding a grant to locations that are being served by at least one provider offering minimum download and upload speeds (100/20 Mbps); or a federal or state grant has been allocated to a service provider to provide broadband services to the location at the minimum download and upload speeds.
  • Projects must have the ability to commit to dedicated at least 30% of the cost to deploy broadband.
  • For grants that are competing to provide service to the same location, preference must be given to applicants with a greater capital contribution.
  • All grantees must offer last mile services and be authorized to provide last mile services in the state of Tennessee.
  • If a broadband grant recipient does not complete the grant obligations, the recipient is liable for repayment of the entire grant in full, plus 30% of the grant amount.

Award Information

Last Mile Grant Program

A total of $25 million is allocated for the Last Mile Program. Where applications are divided into multiple application areas, the maximum grant request for the county will be divided equally across grant application areas. The grant will cover 70% of eligible project expenses, with a required 30% match by the grantee. All contracts with grantees must be in effect by June 30, 2024, and funds must be expended by December 31, 2026.

Last Mile Eligibility Requirements

Eligible Areas 
Eligible areas are those lacking 100/20 Mbps in Carroll, Henderson, Unicoi, Johnson, Meigs, Roane, Marshall, and Moore counties.

NOTE: For the last mile program there are 18 total application areas. Each county is split into 2 or three application areas. Application Areas are Carroll 1, Carroll 2, Henderson 1, Henderson 2, Unicoi 1, Unicoi 2. Johnson 1, Johnson 2, Johnson 3, Meigs 1, Meigs 2, Roane 1, Roane 2, Roane 3, Marshall 1, Marshall 2, Moore 1, and Moore 2.

 Applicants may apply for one, multiple, or all application areas in each county, but the applications will be scored separately and may be awarded to different entities. Each application must stand on its own and not require award of another application to be a feasible project. In addition, for each application area, an applicant’s grant proposal must propose to serve all eligible locations identified by TNECD (those lacking 100/20mbps) in the application area they are applying for.


Key Dates

TNECD Broadband anticipates opening Round 2 of the CPF Last Mile grant opportunity on March 6, 2024, and closing the application window on April 10, 2024. All dates are subject to change.

Provider Webinar: 

TNECD is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, March 13th (2:00 PM CT) to provide grant applicants with a thorough understanding of Round Two of the Last Mile grant program, including eligibility requirements, the application process, the selection process, and what to expect after grants are awarded. Grant applicants can register for the upcoming webinar here.

Provider Office Hours: TBD - Mid-March/early-April 

Anticipated Public Notice Window: April 15, 2024 – May 3, 2024

Award Announcements: Late May / Early June 2024


TNECD Contact Information

Donovan Spann | Broadband Infrastructure Coordinator | 615-308-2965

Taylre M. Beaty | State Broadband Director

Emily Hale | Broadband Grants and Program Manager | 615-906-1057

Last Mile Application Guidebook




FAQ document


Last Mile Webinar Materials

Presentation Slides


Round Two Office Hours 

Office Hours Webinar Video

FAQs from Office Hours

Last Mile Technical Scoring


Scoring Criteria

Possible Points Per Category

Technical Need

Is the applicant eligible? Please consider eligibility guidelines in addition to FCC registration status.

Up to 50 possible points

Rate the level of need and difficulty of serving the area. When assessing the description of need, please consider why the area is difficult to serve and the likelihood the area would be served without grant funding.

Has this area received federal funding for broadband infrastructure? Note: Locations that have received federal funding or state funding are not eligible for this program and will not qualify for awards.

What is the percentage of locations in the grant area lacking 25/3 connection?

What is the percentage of locations in the grant area lacking 100/20 connection?

Leveraged and Match Funds

Additional matching funds – any funds provided by the applicant that exceed the required match

Up to 10 possible points

Sustainability and Implementation Readiness

Please rate the ability of the applicant to implement the project on time and within budget. Consider managerial, technical, and financial capabilities of the organization; prior experience with broadband or ability to bring on qualified experts; and long-term stability to manage the network moving forward.

Up to 30 possible points

Please rate the reasonableness of the applicant’s business model, project scope, budget, and timeline. Consider if this is a feasible project scope and timeline.

Speed, Scalability, and Affordability

Please rate the proposed speed’s ability to meet community needs.

Up to 28 possible points

Rate the scalability of the project

Compare the pricing levels to current market rates in rural Tennessee (tier closest to 100/20).

Please rate the proposed installation costs and/or equipment rental costs to the consumer.

Total Possible Points


Up to 118 total possible points

Last Mile Impact Scoring


Scoring Criteria

Possible Points Per Category

Economic and Community Impact

Will the applicant provide service to a community anchor institution (CAI)?

Up to 30 possible points

Economic development impact: Consider and describe how the completion of the proposed project will lead to job creation, improve healthcare delivery, serve an economically distressed area, and/or impact educational access.

Is the project tailored to meet a need specific to that community? Look for evidence that the provider worked with the community in designing the project.

Community Support and Adoption Strategy

Partnerships and support from community organizations: Consider the quality and quantity of partnerships and community support. The partnerships can address adoption or access.

Up to 40 Possible Points

Assess the quality of the adoption plan. Consider the ability of the plan to address key drivers of adoption (e.g., relevance, skills, affordability, perception).

Has the applicant provided their own resources for adoption efforts? Consider whether the applicant is putting their own resources (beyond marketing) toward adoption (e.g., providing digital literacy, promoting low-income assistance, free/low-cost devices).

Does the applicant participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) or offer their own low-cost service plan?

Total Possible Points


Up to 70 total possible points