MAYFIELD, KENTUCKY (September 10) — West Kentucky & Tennessee (WK&T) Telecommunications received a state grant from the Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund to provide fiber broadband access to residents inside the city limits of Dresden, as well as some locations in rural Weakley County. The almost $1.025 million grant will provide immediate response to overcome obstacles created by COVID-19 and allow residents to take advantage of basic quality of life, health, education, commerce and work-at-home resources that are available to those who have access to high-speed internet.
The City of Dresden and Weakley County will each contribute $30,000 toward the goal.
“The City of Dresden is excited to partner with WK&T and Weakley County in this grant,” said Dresden Mayor Jeff Washburn. “We are excited about Dresden becoming the first rural community to establish 100-percent fiber connectivity for our residents and businesses,” he added.
The project must be completed by December 15, 2020, and will provide access for about 1,120 households in Weakley County.
“Now more than ever, we realize how essential a fast, reliable broadband connection is to our quality of life,” WK&T Chief Executive Officer Trevor Bonnstetter noted. “In order to excel in school, see a doctor virtually or telework, residents must have access to the best cutting-edge technology. This grant helps make that possible,” he added.
The grant requires WK&T to provide a minimum of “education-level” speeds, which is defined as 25 Mbps download speed and 3 Mbps upload speed. Part of the grant will provide the service free for a period of time. After the free period, residents who wish to keep the service will be required to subscribe and pay the monthly fee.
“Weakley County is excited to once again be partnering with WK&T to expand accessibility for our local citizens,” says Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum. “The current pandemic has shown the increased need for broadband access and the economic challenges facing our community. The awarding of this grant allows for opportunities to participate in distance learning, telehealth and staying connected with loved ones,” Bynum added.
The Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund utilizes a portion of the state of Tennessee’s federal aid, known as the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), to enhance broadband infrastructure and access to individuals and families affected during the COVID-19 pandemic by the lack of broadband access in their area. Fiber-optic broadband is considered a future-proof technology. It is the fastest, most-reliable internet technology available. For more information about WK&T, visit www.mywkt.net.