Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has announced over $203 million in broadband investments that will expand reliable and affordable high-speed internet service to more than 34,000 Kentucky families and businesses.
The investment – which is part of the governor’s Better Kentucky Plan – is providing more than $89.1 million in 46 grant awards to 12 internet service providers and local governments across 35 Kentucky counties. Grant recipients have pledged funds to match the state’s contributions, bringing the total investment for this round of broadband expansion awards to over $203 million.
The Better Kentucky Plan aims to help the commonwealth lead in the post-COVID economy by applying Federal dollars to build new schools, deliver clean drinking water, expand broadband access, build stronger communities, improve roads and bridges, and expand electric vehicle infrastructure.
“High-speed, reliable internet service is not just the infrastructure of the future, it is the infrastructure of the present. It is just as important right now as roads and bridges. And [this] is a key part of our plan to build a better Kentucky, as high-speed internet will be critical to the success of our state’s economy and future job creation,” Gov. Beshear said in a press statement.
Thus far, the following awards have been announced:
- Charter Communications received 18 grant awards totaling nearly $50 million.
- Frankfort Plant Board received 11 grants totaling more than $8 million.
- Pennyrile Rural Electric Cooperative received seven grants totaling nearly $13 million.
- West Kentucky Rural Telephone Co-op Corporation received two grant awards totaling more than $3 million.
- Cumberland Cellular received a grant for a little over $1 million.
- South Central Telecom received a grant for nearly $2 million.
- Gibson Connect received a grant for about $5 million.
- Boone County Fiscal Court received a grant for $808,832.
- Duo County Telephone Cooperative received a grant for more than $3 million.
- Bardstown Connect received a grant for a little over $1 million.
- Crystal Broadband Networks received a grant for $255,835.
- Tri-County Electric received a grant for $900,000.
“These grants will lower the cost of construction so that our most rural areas will have access to this necessity of high-speed internet,” State Budget Director John Hicks said. “These funds are dedicated to unserved areas in Kentucky. We’re also setting up Kentucky’s first Office of Broadband Development to help administer and create a master plan for the commonwealth to provide universal service to every Kentuckian.”
In announcing the funding, the governor reminded his constituents that the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, a long-term $14 billion program, is also at work to ensure people can afford the internet needed for work, school, health care, and more.