NASHVILLE) — During the 2017 legislative session, Representative Timothy Hill (R-Blountville) began the process of addressing Tennessee’s need for reliable broadband internet services by cosponsoring House Bill 529, also known as the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act.
The Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act expands broadband internet access and adoption across Tennessee through business investment and deregulation. Coupled with the state budget, the legislation makes targeted investments through grants and tax credits that focus on underserved or unserved areas. Additionally, this initiative permits Tennessee’s private, nonprofit electric cooperatives to provide retail broadband service — something they have been completely unable to do in the past.
Recently, Tennessee ranked 29th in the country for broadband access, with 13 percent of Tennesseans lacking accessibility to high speed internet. While only 2 percent of urban citizens lacked access, 34 percent of rural residents are without coverage, placing them at a distinct disadvantage over their city counterparts.
Representative Hill believes the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act is an important first step in providing a more permanent, long-term solution to a complex issue that has hindered rural Tennessee businesses and families in recent years.
“The rural areas of our state need access to what has become a vital resource,” said Representative Hill. “I am pleased that my colleagues and I have begun working to resolve a critical issue that has stunted development in many communities across Tennessee. While we have made some initial progress and potentially created new and exciting possibilities for our businesses and families, we still have a long journey ahead. I look forward to exploring additional ideas and solutions in the coming years that complement the work we have already achieved, thanks to the passage of the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act.”
Timothy Hill serves as House Majority Whip. He is also a member of the House Calendar & Rules, House Transportation and House Insurance & Banking Committees, as well as the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee. Hill lives in Blountville and represents House District 3, which includes Johnson and part of Carter and Sullivan Counties. He can be reached by email at: Rep.Timothy.Hill@capitol.tn.gov<mailto:Rep.Timothy.Hill@capitol.tn.gov> or by calling (615) 741-2050.