Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development is evaluating the availability of broadband Internet in Tennessee through a statewide assessment.
The survey, which began Tuesday, stems from Commissioner Randy Boyd’s listening tour in 2015, during which business and economic officials voiced their concerns about a lack of broadband access in rural parts of the state.
“Tennessee’s economic future is directly tied to our broadband access,” Boyd said. “Broadband access impacts our quality of life, educational opportunities, health care and our businesses’ ability to compete. We must measure who has broadband Internet access and how they are using it. Help us make sure every Tennessee community has access to broadband by taking this assessment.”
The goal of the 20-minute survey is to be able to define the size and scope of broadband access, unclear at this point, and determine the cost of possible solutions, Boyd said.
“Everybody says, ‘We need more rural broadband,’ but no one can tell you is it 5 percent of people who don’t have it or is it 20 percent?” he said. “Once we know what percentage needs to be built out, then we need to determine what the cost is. Is it $30 million or $300 million or a $30 billion problem?”
The department of economic development will also examine best practices in other states and present those to Gov. Bill Haslam and the state legislature to help them find the best solution for Tennessee. The state officials plan to present a full report in June.
The survey, assessing business and household access, will run through March 15. To take the online assessment residents can visit (continue reading at the Tennessean)