NCTC Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for Broadband in Riddleton
North Central Telephone Cooperative (NCTC) gathered with Smith and Trousdale County residents as well as county, state, and federal officials on Thursday, September 13, for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of construction to portions of Riddleton, Dixon Springs, and Pleasant Shade.
NCTC was notified in late 2017 that it would be awarded a $2.8 million grant, with NCTC paying an additional $425,000, which equates to a $3.3 million project to build a state-of-the-art fiber network. This network will cover approximately 93 miles in a portion of Smith and Trousdale Counties that is in desperate need of broadband services. In fact, some residents currently do not even have access to landline telephone service.
The ceremony was held on George McDonald’s Catesa Farms in Riddleton. With almost 100 people in attendance, NCTC’s President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny McClanahan welcomed guests. He invited community residents Steve Wilmore to offer prayer and Laura Piper to lead the pledge of allegiance.
“Thanks to this grant from RUS (Rural Utilities Service), the residents of this area will have access to gig-capable broadband services at their homes—the fastest internet you will find anywhere. This is a great thing!” said McClanahan. “This broadband connection provides much needed access for health care, education, and work at home opportunities.”
“Smith County Mayor Jeff Mason spoke at the event, stating, “It’s an exciting day in Smith County, and we thank North Central for bringing service to our area. Our need for internet is changing. And the need for internet for famers, students, and work from home businesses is crucial.”
Jim Tracy, Tennessee State Director for Rural Development for the USDA, said, “We are glad to partner with North Central Communications in this grant. This is going to provide service to around 280 folks who do not have access in Smith and Trousdale Counties.”
“For the past 67 years, North Central has strived to provide the most up to date telecommunications services to its members. This grant is further evidence of the work they do to bring this wonderful service to these areas,” said James Wilson, General Field Representative with the Rural Utilities Service for Kentucky and Tennessee. “I look forward to working with North Central to see this project completed as soon as possible,” he continued.
Host George McDonald added, “It is a wonderful day for our community. We were concerned with how many people we would have on a Thursday at 11:30 out in the country like this, but look what we have today. About 2 years ago, I contacted North Central and asked if there was any way we could get Internet. They went to work and made that a reality. We are proud to be a very small part of this effort.”
Former Smith County Mayor Michael Nesbitt, Michael Detwiler with Congressman Diane Black’s office, Mike Dunn with Representative Terri Lynn Weaver’s office, and other special guests in attendance were recognized.
McClanahan says the project will be complete within two years—hopefully sooner. Furthermore, residents will have access to a staffed community center for two years to learn how to use the service.
Watch a video of the event.