Martin - Gig City Broadband

Martin, Tennessee

The City of Martin, located in Northwest Tennessee, is home of the University of Tennessee at Martin. The city has a vibrant downtown, excellent community facilities and a diversified economy. The proactive city leadership understands the need to invest in infrastructure and services to insure access to economic opportunity and improve the quality of life in Martin.

In 2016, Martin officials began to look for a better way to increase the accuracy and automate the labor-intensive process of reading public water system meters. Officials learned that one of the best ways to do this was through a fiber optic network that could also provide high speed internet services to its residents, education providers and businesses at affordable rates. What started with a search for ways to control water system operating costs ended with the citizens of Martin gaining access to gigabit internet speeds that rival major metropolitan areas.   

Careful strategic planning led the city of Martin to take this infrastructure challenge and leverage a solution into a partnership. Instead of building the fiber network alone, the city partnered with West Kentucky & Tennessee Telecommunications, a cooperative with experience building and maintaining a fiber network. The entities forged an agreement where the city would pay the cooperative $300,000 a year over 30 years to build the network and connect the water meters. WK&T agreed to use this payment arrangement as the foundation for a $10 million technology investment to build 150 miles of fiber optic lines throughout the city. Delta Regional Authority funding of $144,000 provided LAN receivers to round out the water system equipment requirements. The innovative partnership has enabled the cooperative to offer advanced broadband internet, digital television and phone services to all of Martin’s residents, businesses and community facilities and assist the city in improving water system services. City leaders estimate that the new water meter reader system will result in an estimated $100,000 in city savings for the first year alone.

Martin is already reaping significant benefits from these technology and infrastructure investments in the community. Better internet services allow the University of Tennessee at Martin to recruit faculty and students across the state, region and country. The Gig City network is also being used as a catalyst to provide expanded services to existing businesses and develop a local technology park targeted to software development companies, incubator businesses, and related tech companies that require the internet access speeds and system reliability only available through fiber infrastructure.

Since the Gig City project launch, the Savant Learning Systems corporate headquarters located in downtown Martin is benefitting from expanded broadband services that support their existing 100 tech jobs and enhance new virtual training system development plans. South Korean home appliance and automotive supplier Dong-A USA announced plans to create approximately 220 new jobs and make the largest foreign-direct investment made in Weakley County. A new software development company also plans to create more than 50 high tech jobs in Martin.

Community and Economic Impact

The Martin Gig City project is providing more than just fast internet. Access to fast, reliable and affordable broadband service is creating new opportunities for citizens and businesses in the areas of small business creation, education, distance learning, telemedicine and technology applications. When completed, Martin will be among the top cities in Tennessee when it comes to its internet speeds. Projected project results include

Residential Households Served


Business and Industrial Customers Served


New Tech and Industrial Announcements


New Tech and Industrial Jobs Created


New Projected Direct Industrial Investments


New Projected Annual Water System Cost Savings


Project Funding

City of Martin Water Department Investment 
$9,000,000 (City-wide network construction and water meter connections @ $300,000 per year for 30 years)    
West Kentucky &Tennessee Cooperative Investment    
$10,000,000 (City-wide fiber optic network construction)    
Delta Regional Authority States’ Economic Development Assistance Grant    
$144,000 (Local Area Network (LAN) receiver) 
Total Broadband Network Project Funding* $19,144,000

Project Leadership and Partners

City of Martin – Mayor and Economic and Community Development Offices – Project Contacts
West Kentucky & Tennessee Telecommunications 
Delta Regional Authority
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

For project contact information visit the City of Martin.

Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Programs

Access to high speed broadband is one of the most significant economic and quality of life drivers in Tennessee. TNECD Community and Rural Development staff support broadband implementation through training, technical assistance and funding in conjunction with local, state and federal partners. TNECD Broadband Initiative services are provided through the Governor’s Rural Task Force and Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act of 2017 and 2018.

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a federal-state partnership that represents 252 counties in eight states along the lower Mississippi River Delta. The DRA is focused on creating jobs, building communities, and improving lives of the more than 10 million people of the Delta Region. The main investment tool used by the Delta Regional Authority is the States’ Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP), which provides direct investment into community-based and regional projects that address the DRA’s funding priorities. TNECD manages Tennessee DRA funding and programs across West Tennessee.

For more information visit TNECD Community and Rural Development.