TVEPA receives $4 million for fiber installation through MS Electric Cooperatives Broadband COVID-19 Act 

Published 3:02 pm Friday, July 31, 2020

BATESVILLE — The Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association Board of Directors is proud to announce TVEPA has received a $4 million grant to expand its high-speed fiber internet access to more members in North Mississippi.

The award comes as part of the $65 million in grants announced Tuesday by the Mississippi Public Utilities Staff. In all, 15 electric cooperatives were awarded grants to deploy fiber to unserved and underserved areas of rural Mississippi. TVEPA will match the $4 million grant for a total investment of $8 million through the MS Electric Cooperatives Broadband COVID-19 Act.

“These grant funds will make a tremendous impact on TVEPA’s ability to further deliver fiber-based broadband internet service to the most rural parts of the service area through TVIfiber” said TVEPA and TVIfiber CEO Brad Robison. “We have been truly blessed to receive such overwhelming support for this project and I think that support underscores just how critical broadband is for the people in our part of Mississippi.”

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The Mississippi Legislature passed Senate Bill 3046 – The Mississippi Electric Cooperatives Broadband COVID-19 Act – earlier this year. The money became available after the state received funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“We want to thank the state leadership, Governor Reeves, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, Sen. Joel Carter, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and State Rep. Scott Bounds, chairman of the House Public Utilities Committee for designating this money to such a worthwhile cause. We also thank the Public Utilities Staff Executive Director Sally Doty and her entire staff who worked very hard in expediting the grant process,” Robison added.

The Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association and its subsidiary TVIfiber were the first internet provider in the state of Mississippi to receive federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect grant to install fiber optic broadband in rural, underserved areas. The $16 million ReConnect grant and the MS Electric Cooperative Broadband COVID-19 grant will total over $20 million. TVEPA’s fiber network buildout plans require a total investment of more than $60 million.