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.  

Round 2 Timeline

May 28, 2018   Program Guidelines Released
July 17, 2018 Grant Application Available
August 2018 Webinar 1 - Application Review
August 2018 Regional Meetings
September 2018 Webinar 2 - Application Q&A
October 8, 2018 Questions Due by 5pm CDT
October 9, 2018 Completeness Review Deadline
October 11, 2018 Grant Application Due by 2 PM CDT
October 11, 2018 Broadband Ready Community Application Due by 2PM CDT
October 24, 2018 Public Comment Period Begins
November 15, 2018 Public Comment Period Ends at 5PM CST
November 26, 2018 Response Period for Finalists (to Public Comment and Data) begins
December 12, 2018 Response Period for Finalists Ends
February 2019 Grantees Announced

**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 to:
Recipient: Crystal Ivey, Broadband Grant and Program Manager, at
Subject Line: TNECD Broadband Accessibility Grant Application Question

Applications must be received online by
October 11, 2018 at 2:00pm CDT.