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Monster wins $1.1 million grant to expand fiber in Moore County

Monster will expand fiber in two segments. One will begin Hurricane Creek Road and move towards Cobb Hollow and the Smith Chapel area. The second phase will begin in Lois near Short Creek Road and make a loop on Tanyard and back around to Highway 50. {Art Provided}

Good news is coming for households struggling to get adequate Internet connections in the rural areas of Moore County. Monster Broadband – a local Internet Service Provider founded by two Moore County High School graduates – just received a $1.1 million grant to expand fiber coverage in Moore County.

“Our mission from the start was to get the highest Internet speeds possible to the folks living in rural area that tend to get forgotten by the larger providers. This grant will allow us to expand our fiber to hundreds of Moore County households,” co-owner Charles Johnston said.

Johnston and Steve Baker, two MCHS class of 1990 graduates, launched Monster Broadband in 2009. Last year they launched their first fiber network in the Ridgeville subdivision along Tims Ford Lake. Since then, they’ve brought fiber speeds of up to 250 megabytes per second to over 500 homes in both Tennessee and Texas, where Baker now lives.

Members of Monster’s fiber crew works along Hinkle Lane near the Blue Gill Grill. The TN Emergency Broadband Fund grant will allow them to expand 26 additional miles inside Moore County. {Photo Provided}

The Monster award is part of $61 million to be awarded in Tennessee as part of the Tennessee Emergency Broadband Fund. The grants are funded through the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund allotment from the federal government and distributed through the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

ECD received 84 applications for $89.1 million in funding. Following review and a public comment period, 62 projects representing $61.1 million were funded.

Monster plans to expand fiber in two segments. The one will start at Hurricane Creek Road then onto Cobb Hollow Road, Raysville Road, Price Hollow Road, Bobo Hollow Road, Woosley Road, and then across Highway 55 to Hilltop Circle before ending at the Smith Chapel subdivision.

The other begins in Lois at Short Creek Road then onto Marble Hill Road, Little Bean Hollow Road, Galloway Lane, Tanyard Hill Road before looping around on Bull Run Road back to Highway 50.

Pursuant to federal guidelines, these projects are limited to those that would enhance access to individuals and families affected during the COVID-19 pandemic by the lack of broadband access in their area. Eligible entities included those authorized to provide broadband services in Tennessee, and eligible areas were limited to those unserved or underserved locations lacking all equipment necessary to provide a broadband connection capable of supporting telemedicine, distance learning, and telecommuting.

“We are so thankful for the opportunity to step up and do our small part in helping our state, county, neighbors, and friends,” said Baker. “The Coronavirus battle is new to us all, the battle to push broadband in underserved areas has been a task we have been fighting for 11 years.  As we stated in our application, we have never applied or considered a grant before, times are different now and the need for our services has never been greater.”

Though Monster does not have a timeline for the projects yet, they will announce roads as they go live and are install ready on their Facebook page. Click here to like their page and stay up to the minute. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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