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Dresden Calls Special Meeting For Broadband Grant Proposal

DRESDEN (August 10) — The Dresden City Board meets in a called meeting Tuesday, August 18, at 6;30 p.m. to vote on a proposed Broadband Connectivity Grant for the City of Dresden.
West Kentucky and Tennessee Telecommunications Cooperative (WK&T) applied for a grant for Dresden in which the company would connect and provide internet connectivity to every house and business in the city and provide internet at no cost for a short period of time. The federal government would provide the majority of the funding to make the connections.
There is a proposal in the grant application to provide education-level feeds of internet for the home by WK&T for a period of two to three months at no charge depending on the amount of grant and local match funding provided. The level of service on the education-level feed will be approximately 25 megabits of download speed and 3 megabits of upload speed.
After the initial service period, the residents of the home receiving the internet would be responsible for subscribing and payment of the monthly service fee if they wish to continue service beyond the free period.
The grant was announced last week as part of a COVID-19 relief package. The deadline for filing for the grant was Thursday, August 6. Dresden is the only city in WK&T’s service area eligible to receive this grant. Under the guidelines, the project must be completed by December 3, 2020.
To participate in the connectivity grant, the City of Dresden would commit $30,000 that could be paid from State of Tennessee one-time grant of approximately $90,000 that has been received by the city, but not yet appropriated.
It would not require a commitment of funds from the tax revenues generated by the sales tax or property taxes to fund normal day-to-day operations and does not require an increase in property taxes.
The grant is designed to provide a means of providing distance-learning for local elementary and high school students, particularly if schools close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Weakley County School System is training teachers for distance- or virtual-learning as a means of providing a continuation of student education beyond in-person classes.
Trevor Bonnsteter, CEO of WK&T, stated that should WK&T and Dresden receive the grant, “Dresden would be the first small community in rural America to have 100-percent connectivity to fiber broadband internet, which is quite a distinction to hold.”
The city will livestream the meeting on the City of Dresden Youtube channel. Public comments on the proposal to participate in the grant and provide matching funding can be emailed to prior to the meeting.

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