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Federal Infrastructure Bill: How It Will Impact Broadband Expansion

When the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in November of 2021, it changed the future of broadband internet in America. With federal support funding, internet service providers’ (ISPs)  expansion into under-connected areas will be financially feasible, making fast, reliable internet a reality for many communities. United Communications has been committed to connecting rural communities for years. Now, billions of dollars have been allocated for upgraded internet access across the country. Here’s how that funding will contribute to our efforts towards building comprehensive networks for families and businesses in Tennessee.

What Does the 2021 Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Entail?

This $1 trillion bill passed in November 2021 is the largest federal contribution to infrastructure projects across the U.S. in over a decade. It was written to address a range of infrastructure issues, including clean water improvements, updating the nation’s power grids, improving roads, bridges, and airports, and even infusing cash into Amtrak to expand the railway’s reach. One of the most highly anticipated additions is the $65 billion contribution towards establishing high-speed broadband internet in under-connected areas.

How Will The 2021 Federal Infrastructure Bill Affect Internet Access in Tennessee?

The digital divide is real, with 1.27 million Tennesseans, approximately 19% of the state’s population, living in areas without any broadband infrastructure. Even in areas where broadband infrastructure is present, the cost of subscribing may be out of reach for some households. To remedy this, Tennessee will receive a minimum of $100 million to establish and subsidize internet access for 402,000 Tennesseans without access. In addition, it’s estimated that 30% of Tennesseans can make use of the Affordability Connectivity Benefit to help make high-speed internet more affordable for their families.

What Role Will United Communications Play in Bringing Broadband to Tennessee Counties?

United Communications began implementing broadband in Tennessee’s under-connected counties through Project UNITE in 2018. In March 2021, a $14.9 million grant was passed in Tennessee to expand service to 17,800 Tennesseans in 7,120 homes and businesses. In many ways, the pandemic uncovered the lack of equity in internet service across Tennessee. Through the grant, 7,120 under-connected homes and businesses were given access to high-speed internet. United Communications was an important part of the effort. With new funding from the Infrastructure Bill, United Communications will be able to continue its effort to connect Tennesseans to high-quality internet. The increased connection will make virtual learning and remote work a possibility for individuals in rural communities.

United Communications Connects Middle Tennessee

United Communications is committing to providing fast, affordable internet access to Middle Tennessee – even in remote areas. We want to bring the power of technology into your home no matter where you live. United has provided high-speed internet to almost 13,000 unserved locations to date. If you live in a Tennessee location without reliable internet, contact United Communications or visit Project UNITE to learn more about our efforts in your area.