High speed broadband will soon be available to areas of western Kentucky and western Tennessee thanks to a $31.9 Million low interest loan Gibson Electric Membership Cooperative received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect program. Gibson EMC – and its wholly-owned, not-for-profit broadband subsidiary, Gibson Connect – have been working to bring fast internet service to Hickman and Fulton counties in Kentucky as well as Obion, Carlisle and Graves counties in Tennessee since 2017 when the Tennessee Rural Broadband Act was passed.
“Gibson EMC is grateful our ReConnect loan application was approved,” said Gibson EMC and Gibson Connect President and CEO Dan Rodamaker. “This low-interest loan will enable us to more affordably deploy broadband to our members.”
The cooperative will use the funds primarily in parts of Hickman and Fulton counties in Kentucky and Obion County in Tennessee, as well as some areas in neighboring Carlisle and Graves counties in Kentucky and Lake, Dyer and Weakley counties in Tennessee.
The USDA Reconnect Program, which offers grants and low interest loans to assist in the deployment of broadband, was created to meet the need of rural communities who need a robust, modern infrastructure to thrive. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stated, “Our core mission at USDA is to increase rural prosperity through boosting economic opportunity in rural America.”
That is exactly what Gibson’s Rodamaker is set to do. “Ultimately we plan to provide high-speed, fiber-based internet service access to all of our members,” Rodamaker said. “Access to this essential service can enable our members to enjoy a better quality of life and help our communities thrive.”