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State leaders present $3.7 million in grants to expand rural internet access

State leaders announced two grants to help 1,000 homes in Roane County and Meigs County get better internet access.

Several jobs and services became virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and people across the U.S. need reliable internet access for them. So, state leaders presented grants on Tuesday at Midway High School to help fund better digital infrastructure in rural communities.

So, state leaders announced two grants to help more than 1,000 homes in Roane County and Meigs County get better access to the internet. Combined, the grants are worth $3.7 million and will go to helping families connect to the internet.

"What many people consider a luxury is a necessity, and now our families are going to have access to that," said Scott Mason, the Midway High School Principal. "It's going to help them, not only to succeed academically but also in their businesses. They might use the internet for us everything that people forget about a lot of times."

Bob Rolfe and Sammie Arnold with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development presented the grants to officials with Comcast and the Volunteer Energy Cooperation. They were joined by Sen. Ken Yager, Rep. Kent Calfee and Roane County Executive Ron Woody.

Mason also said that Yager worked on the initiative to fund better rural internet access for two years.