Lewis County Herald - Serving Hohenwald, Lewis County Tennessee Since 1898

By Becky Jane Newbold
Managing Editor 

Local Broadband Company Awarded $605K for Expansion


August 27, 2020

Most of the staff of JTM Broadband were on the road working Tuesday, including COO Hayden Rawdon who contacted our office to share the news that JTM Broadband would receive state funding to expand broadband in underserved areas of Lewis County. Left, Chief Technical Officer Tom McDonald was joined by Office Manager Leslie Thomas, Robert Pierce, technical support, and Letty Davis and Bailey Gilbert, front office sales, in a photo to celebrate.

Chief Operating Officer Hayden Rawdon announced this week JTM Broadband has been awarded $605,283.20 by the State of Tennessee in Tennessee Emergency Broadband Funds. Part of the CARES Act, the funds are designated to service approximately 258 homes in Lewis County with high speed broadband.

Side roads off Highway 20/Summertown Highway will be targeted to include Grinders Creek Road, Drake Lane, Big Swan Creek Road, Mt. Joy Road and Overhead Bridge Road and some of The Farm, Chief Technical Officer Tom McDonald stated Tuesday.

Standard plans with JTM Broadband start at $50 a month with other plans also to be available in the rural areas.

Governor Bill Lee announced $61 million in Emergency Broadband Grants on Friday, August 21, 2020 aimed to improve access to broadband internet across the state.

The grants were funded through the State's Coronavirus Relief Fund allotment from the federal government and distributed through the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, a press release indicated.

JTM Broadband was also awarded $404,414.50 from the State of Alabama earlier this year to service over 1,500 homes in Lauderdale County.

"We have grown exponentially in the past eight years, and we are now employing 24 local people,"COO Rawdon commented. "We have thousands of internet and phone users in Lewis, Lawrence, Maury and Wayne counties in Tennessee along with Blount and Cullman counties in Alabama. JTM Broadband continues to expand each day," Rawdon continued.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has only further elevated the importance of access to reliable, affordable broadband internet to facilitate telemedicine, distance learning, and telecommuting," said Governor Bill Lee in making the announcement. "I thank the members of our Financial Stimulus Accountability Group and the Department of Economic and Community Development for their work in distributing these funds to shovel-ready projects that will directly benefit Tennesseans."

"This $61 million investment in additional broadband grants, in conjunction with the $60 million the General Assembly has already appropriated, will continue to increase access to high speed internet services across Tennessee," said House Speaker Cameron Sexton.

Families, schools, businesses, and health care organizations may benefit from this enhanced broadband infrastructure, House Speaker Sexton added.

"I'm very excited for JTM Broadband and what this broadband expansion means to Lewis County," Lewis County Mayor Jonah Keltner stated. "Many of our rural residents are in desperate need of quality and affordable high speed internet to work and pursue educational opportunities online, as well as make important purchases for their families. I appreciate our federal and state government for making this grant available, as it will have a very positive impact on the future of our community."

In support of people working from home and students in need of access to broadband for educational programs and school, the project is on a fast track to completion.

Grant funding for the project has a deadline of December 15, 2020, CTO McDonald commented Tuesday. Service will be provided via fiber cables, and is anticipated to be available prior to the December deadline, he added.


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