Governor Bill Lee announced Friday that Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative is receiveing a $593,166 Broadband Accessibility Grant through the State of Tennessee's Department of Economic and Community Development for the southern part of Perry County. MLEC submitted four grant applications: one in Hickman County and three in Perry County.
"We are grateful to Gov. Lee and our legislators for recognizing and supporting the need for reliable broadband in our rural hometowns," says MLEC President and CEO Keith Carnahan. "When residents wrote in support of our grant application in October 2019, no one could have known where we would be at this moment. The COVID-19 issue highlights the dire need of rural connectivity for economic opportunities, education, and healthcare."
Phase I of Meriwether Lewis Connect's 100-percent, fiber-to-the-home broadband project is live in and around the cities of Centerville, Hohenwald, Linden, Lobelville, Waverly, McEwen, New Johnsonville, Erin and Tennessee Ridge. Phase II, partially funded by a 2019 Broadband Accessibility Grant, includes all of Humphreys and Houston counties and is scheduled to conclude in January 2021.
"An announcement about Phases III and IV, which includes the rural parts of Hickman, Lewis and Perry counties, will be made in the near future," says Carnahan. "This grant for southern Perry County is time sensitive and will weigh heavily on where we go next, but we are on target to finish construction in all counties by the end of 2022. We also plan to pursue additional Tennessee grants in the future."
MLConnect offers residential broadband 300 Mbps service at $49.95, 1 Gbps service at $79.95, and phone at $24.95. Business products are also available. Residents and businesses who have registered at www.mlconnect.com will be contacted when installations begin in their area.