VEC Receives 2018 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) POWER Initiative Grant
Over the summer of 2018, Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC) applied for several grants to aid in the cost of construction for its commercial broadband pilot. While some of the grants applied for are still outstanding, we are pleased to announce that VEC is one of the recipients of the 2018 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) POWER Initiative Grant. ARC has awarded 35 grants totaling $26.5 million, of which VEC will receive $1.5 million to put toward its commercial broadband effort. This money will be split between VEC and its strategic partners, with $1 million going to aid in the cost of construction, including smart grid enhancements, and another $500,000 going toward grid virtualization and entrepreneurial development.
VEC will match the $1 million portion of the grant with an additional $1 million, and the $2 million total will be utilized to run fiber to the Birchwood Community of Hamilton and Meigs counties. 731 homes will gain access to gigabit internet service thanks to the ARC grant. The broadband service expansion will include areas surrounding Highway 60, between Highway 58 and the Tennessee River. To see details of the area to be covered in graphic form, please visit www.vec-twinlakes.com. The fiber areas affected will be the zones labeled Georgetown, Blythe Ferry, and Parker Loop. Construction in these areas will begin during the winter months of late 2018. We expect construction to be complete by the end of 2019.
The VEC broadband pilot began in December 2017, and currently provides internet, television, and telephone access to 137 homes on Bigsby Creek Road and inside Camelot subdivision, to 228 homes on No Pone Road and Van Davis Road, and soon to an additional 251 homes across the No Pone and Van Davis communities.