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Broadband Resources

Understanding Broadband

FCC's Getting Broadband Consumer Guide:  The FCC has produced a consumer guide that includes the basics of what broadband is and the different types of technologies.  

FCC's Fixed Broadband Deployment Map:  Every 6 months, the FCC collects data from broadband providers.  Visit their most recent map to see what providers report coverage in your area.  Data for this map was collected in December 2016 and does not include mobile broadband.  Even in census blocks depicted as being served, it is possible that some locations don’t have access to broadband Internet service.  The potential for discrepancies exists because providers report coverage to the FCC by census blocks rather than by individual locations.

FCC's 2018 Broadband Deployment Report:  Every year, the FCC issues a report on the state of broadband deployment across the country.  Using the data collected from providers, this year’s report puts Tennessee’s 25/3 access rate at 91%. The appendix also includes county specific numbers.

Broadband USA's Network Costs at a Glance: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration produced a quick guide to costs associated with broadband deployment. 

American Broadband Initiative – Milestone Report: The report outlines a vision for how the Federal Government can increase broadband access, and actions that Agencies are taking to increase private-sector investment in broadband. The report’s recommendations are grouped into three categories: streamlining federal permitting processes, leveraging federal assets, and maximizing the impact of federal funding.

US Department of Interior: The US Department of the Interior (DOI) launched an effort to increase broadband internet access on federally-managed lands. This website outlines their plan and potential solutions to both improve and streamline the permitting process and includes a mapping tool.


Community Planning Resources

Broadband USA's Planning a Community Broadband Roadmap:  NTIA created this toolkit to support local community in planning activities to help expand broadband in a way that drives economic growth and educational opportunities.       

Appalachian Regional Commission Broadband Planning Primer and Toolkit:  ARC created this toolkit to provide information about broadband technology and resources to support the planning process.

USDA’s Rural e-Connectivity Consumer Toolkit: The USDA’s toolkit highlights examples of how e-Connectivity resources are being used to increase access to broadband services in rural communities. It also allows customers to locate resources the federal government offers for planning, equipment, construction and other projects.

Adoption and Digital Inclusion

Broadband USA's Adoption Toolkit:  Based on lesson’s learned from grantees, NTIA created this guide to support communities in increasing broadband adoption.  This toolkit includes many success stories from across the country and important considerations when launching an adoption program.

Access and Inclusion in the Digital Age:  This is a resource guide designed for local governments to support the advancement of digital inclusion.  The guide was developed by a team of six cities from across the country (including Chattanooga).

ConnectHome Playbook :  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development created this playbook to help housing communities build partnerships to narrow the digital divide.

Examples for Other Communities:

Consumer Complaints

FCC Consumer Complaint Center:  The FCC has a Consumer Complaint Center where anyone can file an official complaint about a telecom billing or service issue.  The site also allows individuals to participate in an informal process and report any concerns about providers or policies without going through the formal complaint process.          

Grant Funding Opportunities:

NTIA Federal Funding Guide:  NTIA has compiled a list of funding resources related to broadband.  

Appalachian Regional Commission POWER Grants: This is a congressionally funded initiative to assist coal-impacted communities in the ARC region.  Broadband is included as one of the four areas of focus for this year’s program.  ARC is accepting applications through May 1st for Cycle 1 and July 27th for Cycle 2.

Community Connect Grants:  USDA administers this program to support broadband deployment in rural areas.  Applications are due by May 14th.   

USDA ReConnect Grant and Loan Program: Congress appropriated $600M for building improved broadband e-Connectivity for families, businesses, farms, schools and health care facilities by offering loans and grants to build infrastructure and install equipment that provides modern, reliable, high-speed internet service in rural America. Click the link to learn about the requirements including eligible grant applicants and eligible expenses.


USDA ReConnect Grant and Loan Program

The USDA ReConnect Grant and Loan Program provides up to 20 points in the scoring for a State Broadband Plan. To receive the points, applicants must include a letter from their state’s Governor’s Office indicating the following:

  • The State's broadband plan is up-to-date and published on the internet; web address or URL must be provided. (10 points)
  • There are no restrictions on non-broadband utilities from providing broadband service in rural areas. (5 points)
  • Procedures are in place to expedite administrative activities if necessary, for completing rights-of-way and environmental permitting requirements for the project, in order to meet USDA's project build-out timelines. (5 points)


There are three deadlines to request the information below. These coorespond with the grant application deadlines for each category. You must submit your request below that includes a mapping file of the ReConnect service area by these dates to receive a response from the State. 

  • May 31, 2019 - 100% grant application
  • June 21, 2019 - loan/grant combination
  • July 12, 2019 - 100% loan application

Note: if service is proposed in multiple states, a letter must be submitted from the Governor in each State where the project is located.

USDA will also require all ReConnect applicants to provide a map of their proposed funded service area to the State, which will certify that funds have not previously been allotted for the area. Applicants must then include the certification in their application.

To request the above referenced letter and grant area certification for your application, please complete the following: