NASHVILLE — Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) will visit Columbia to discuss broadband with Congressman Marsha Blackburn and key local and national leaders on Friday, February 24, 2017.
Norris, re-elected last month to a 5th term as Chairman of the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Affairs (TACIR), will attend Blackburn’s Rural Broadband Summit at Columbia State Community College. The event will take place at 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in Room 123 of the Hickman Building.
Under Sen. Norris’ leadership, TACIR recently completed the comprehensive study of Broadband, Internet, Availability, and Adoption in Tennessee. The study’s findings are the basis for Governor Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act which Sen. Norris is sponsoring this year to bring high-speed internet services to rural, unserved or underserved areas without additional costs to taxpayers.
“We need better access, not bigger government,” says Sen. Norris. “Broadband is critical to commerce and the quality of life of every Tennessean and is essential for our current and future education and economic initiatives”.
The Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act will provide $45 million over three years in grants and tax credits for service providers to assist in making broadband available to unserved homes and businesses. In addition, the plan will permit Tennessee’s private, nonprofit electric cooperatives to provide retail broadband service and make grant funding available to the state’s local libraries to help residents improve digital literacy skills to maximize the benefits of broadband.
Norris will meet with local officials from Maury County and elsewhere across the state to discuss the Accessibility Act. In addition to Blackburn, other speakers at the event will include newly appointed Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and LeVoy Knowles, Executive Director of the Tennessee Telecommunications Association.