Our Mission

SCCP aims to build an interconnected series of community controlled broadband infrastructures to deliver coverage initially to communities throughout East Tennessee and Central Appalachia with the ultimate aim of creating a replicable model for community-controlled broadband projects.


We aim to play a major role in helping communities we are in deep relationship with design, develop, establish, and maintain their projects and then link them into a cooperative and thriving network that delivers affordable, accessible, and principled broadband throughout Appalachia, the South, and beyond.

© 2019 by the Southern Connected Communities Project

CCI Cyber Cafe

CCI Overview/Background

The Clearfork Community Institute (CCI) is a 501(c)(3) community development and education center located in the coalfields of East Tennessee, in the historic mining town of Clairfield. CCI was founded in 1997 by local women who sought to provide meaningful engagement for their families and the community. CCI serves residents in the Clearfork Valley, which encompasses 12 unincorporated communities in Campbell and Claiborne Counties in Tennessee, and Bell and Whitley Counties in Kentucky. 

Limited access to high-speed internet leaves many unreachable, jobless, and homeless. There is only one cable provider and two satellite providers in Clairfield. Spectrum provides service to 68.10% coverage in Clairfield and Hughes Net and Viasat provides 100% coverage but is unreliable and unaffordable.  CCI provides the only public space in the community and proposes a cyber cafe to provide the community access to the internet. This will provide the community access to the internet and computers to be able to do  research, homework, connect to family and friends, look for jobs, take online classes, etc. 

CCI Approval

CCI is currently functioning with a small administrative and program staff that consists of volunteers and a board of directors. The majority of its leadership, board, staff and volunteers are from the local community. Marie Webster is the director and sole full time staff member. CCI has a part time bookkeeper (Amanda Gaylor), a part time community volunteer (DJ Coker), a quarter time groundskeeper (Ronnie Atkins), and quarter time building maintenance staff and night watchman (Mike Marlow).  CCI operates with a five member Board who guide the vision and mission and oversee goal-setting and evaluation. The director receives direction from the Board on organizational goals and objectives and is empowered to make the day to day decision that govern the work of CCI.

This project has been board approved.

CCI Director Marie Webster's vision:

This will be the only spot available to the community for internet access if they don't have it at home. This will be a place for kids to come and do their homework, for all-age students to do online classes, for residents to use online tools like ancestry.com, for community members to learn and teach each other basic computing, for our community to join the world via the internet.


Via the CCI cafe we can provide teens with activities, families can communicate with other family members not living close by, and residents can use online employment, health, and education tools. This will be a place where people can come together for coffee and sandwiches face to face. There is no other place nearby for people to meet and sit down to talk one on one. 

What is the plan?

The cyber cafe will be open two days a week, with one day shift and one evening shift, to make it more accessible for all.

It will be self service and staffed by volunteers and staff; they will be there to provide technical assistance. 

Desktops, laptops, and an internet connection will be available for use during Cyber Cafe hours at CCI.

Users will use flash drives to save items. 

CCI plans on hosting workshops on basic computer usage and other topics that will be identified by users of the cafe.

Until further funding is identified, staff will sell coffee and cookies for patrons of the cafe. SCCP would like to acquire vending machines to sell snacks, drinks, and coffee 

What do we need before the cafe can open?

We need to set up desktops and laptops and install security/privacy software as well as useful programs for our users.

The kitchen at CCI needs to be re-arranged to be more service friendly and classrooms have to be designed to make space for desks and sitting areas for laptop use. These areas need to be multi-purpose to serve as workshop spaces as well as communal gathering areas.

We need to acquire 6-10 laptops and 2-3 desktops with desks, snacks and drinks for the cafe, cleaning supplies,
Flash drives, and a cabinet for cafe supplies  and other equipment (lockable) 

What is the timeline?

SCCP/CCI would like to open as soon as possible and begin workshops as soon as ideas are developed.


SCCP’s role in the Cyber Cafe

April and Jamie will staff the cafe at least once a week.

SCCP/CCI will provide the cafe with coffee/tea/drinks and snack supplies.

SCCP and our partners will work to Identify funding opportunities. 

SCCP, CCI, and other partners will coordinate workshops with residents.