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Tennessee moves forward with plan to map out low broadband areas

Tennessee moves forward with plan to map out low broadband areas
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Tennessee is moving forward with a plan to map out areas of the state with low access to broadband internet.

The decision comes after an advisory panel said earlier this year that Tennessee should not wait for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to rewrite federal maps based on data from broadband suppliers, according to The Associated Press.

Crystal Ivey, broadband director for the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development, said the plan involves collecting and validating data from providers in the state for one year.

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The plan is expected to be completed in 2022, and the initial map is expected to cost $450,000. The move comes as Tennessee prepares to invest in broadband infrastructure.

Tennessee ranked 34th among states in broadband coverage, the AP reported based on FCC data from 2018.

The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations said in a report that about 430,000 residents live in a census block where no provider reported baseline speeds as of December 2019.

The Tennessee legislature passed the state’s budget on Thursday, which comes with $100 million in grants for broadband infrastructure, according to the Tennessean.

The number is half of the $200 million that Gov. Bill Lee (R) originally proposed for broadband infrastructure.