ROGERSVILLE — HolstonConnect, a subsidiary of Holston Electric Cooperative that aims to bring gigabit Internet to thousands of unserved residents in rural East Tennessee, has been awarded a $862,017 Appalachian Regional Commission grant for the Holston Electric Cooperative Rural Broadband project.

The project will allow for the installation of almost 26 miles of fiber optic cable on Holston Electric’s existing power poles to provide up to 1 Gbps service to areas not covered by a broadband or cable provider in the Goshen Valley in Hawkins County.

A number of employers in the region use the work-at-home model for portions of their workforce.

HEC projects that several households in this service area are a part of this model, and greater broadband access will give this community access to online education, training, and/or retraining to expand this job market. The new fiber network will make broadband service available to 133 businesses and 600 households and create 20 new jobs over three years. In addition to farms and businesses, the expanded coverage will serve multiple churches, a school, and a fire department.

“We are excited that HolstonConnect has received $862,000 from ARC’s POWER Initiative!” HEC’s General Manager, Jimmy Sandlin, said. “We’ll use this support to continue our construction in the Holston service territory and strengthen education, economic growth, and opportunities for our members.”

HEC is a member-owned, not-for-profit distributor of TVA power that provides safe, reliable and affordable energy to more than 30,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Hawkins and Hamblen counties. Visit www.holstonelectric.com to learn more.

HolstonConnect is a local, not-for-profit distributor of fiber-based services. A wholly-owned subsidiary of HEC, HolstonConnect delivers members the tools necessary to support community development in Hawkins and Hamblen counties.

Visit www.holstonconnect.com to learn more.