Proving that an old-fashioned letter writing campaign can still work, TDS Telecom (Tellico Telephone Company) announced last week that it has plans to install lines that will bring broadband service to those who live outside of the Vonore city limits.

Bruce Mottern with TDS Telecom said more than 700 letters had been brought to his office from those who want the high speed internet service.

“Getting 100 letters about a project is considered big,” he said. “More than 700 is astounding.”

The project will go toward and include the Kahite area. There will be fiber bands installed.

“It will help increase home values,” Mottern said, “help with education and enable people to avoid long commutes and work from home.”

Mottern said the target date for completion of the project is April 21, which led to a couple of questions from audience members who said they had been promised high speed internet a couple of years ago, but despite equipment being in the area, nothing had been done.

Mottern admitted he did not know, but he took audience members’ phone numbers and said he would check on it.

State Reps. Lowell Russell, R-Vonore, and, Mark Cochran, R-Englewood, took part in helping secure the Broadband Accessibility grant, totaling approximately $1.5 million, for Tellico Telephone Company Inc. to expand broadband access for the Vonore community.

The grant will support broadband deployment to 740 homes in the northern portion of the county and will cover a portion of the project cost. The overall goal of this grant funding is to facilitate broadband access to all Tennesseans, while promoting practices that increase deployment and broadband adoption. Funding targets underserved or unserved areas that are unlikely to receive reliable broadband services without these grant dollars.

“I appreciate Gov. Lee and our Department of Economic & Community Development’s investment in support of broadband expansion in Vonore,” said Russell. “This important funding will not only help create economic growth, but it will open new possibilities for our community. I’m proud of the great work our local officials did to secure this funding through a competitive process, and I’m honored to have supported them in this endeavor.”

Grantees will provide $20 million in matching funds for a combined investment of nearly $35 million across the state for the second year of funding.

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