KENTUCKY (WEHT) – On Monday, Governor Andy Beshear announced that the application window is open for the next round of grant funding to support the state’s expansion of high-speed internet access to more families across Kentucky.

Officials say the distribution of these funds supports Governor Beshear’s Better Internet Initiative, which is committed to expanding high-speed internet access to areas of the state with unserved populations or those with download speeds of 10 Mbps or less.

“Access to reliable, high-speed internet is not only essential to our future economic growth; it is critical infrastructure that is as vital as roads and bridges,” Governor Beshear said. “These grant funds help us ensure we are reaching every corner of the commonwealth by helping more families have high-speed internet for the first time.”

A press release says applications for grant funding are available from the Office of Broadband Development. Grant funds will be competitively awarded to high-speed internet networks owned, operated or affiliated with local governments, nonprofits and cooperatives, as well as private providers. Applications will be accepted until February 6, 2023, and grants will be awarded based on an applicant’s demonstrated ability to meet the criteria outlined in the application.

Officials say this historic investment is supporting the expansion of high-speed internet access to more than 34,000 Kentucky families and businesses, helping them stay connected to health care, work, school, family, friends, their customers and their communities.

The news release says combined with matching funds provided by service providers and local governments, an estimated $500 million will support the expansion of high-speed internet in Kentucky, creating more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. Officials say this historic investment, coupled with an expected federal broadband grant award to be received in 2023 from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the KentuckyWired project, positions the state to move toward universal access to high-speed internet.