KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Thirty-five Kentucky counties will be getting investments in their Internet infrastructure, but in terms of the Tri-State, no counties in the Eyewitness News viewing area will be seeing this money. However, neighboring counties will.
“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 terms of counties closest to the Tri-State, Pennyrile Rural Electric Cooperative received grants totaling $13,827,320, and the overall project cost is $27,906,340. This investment will expand access to high-speed internet to 5,598 currently unserved households and businesses located in Caldwell, Christian, Lyon, Todd and Trigg counties.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the state and build a fiber-to-the-home network for the communities we serve,” Pennyrile Electric Cooperative President and CEO Alan Gates said. “This funding from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority will alleviate some of the significant financial burden associated with building a rural fiber-optic broadband network. The return on Kentucky’s investment will manifest through state residents receiving reliable, affordable and sustainable high-speed internet. Pennyrile’s served communities will be connected to vital services that include remote access to education and health care. Further, our members will be able to fully participate in the digital economy, helping these areas grow and thrive economically. We are grateful to the State of Kentucky for their support of the members in the Pennyrile Electric service territory.”
The Governor’s Communications Office says House Bill 320 and House Bill 382 established Kentucky’s Broadband Deployment Fund to assist private sector entities and governmental agencies in the cost of constructing the “last mile” of high-speed internet access to unserved and underserved households and businesses across Kentucky.
The Governor also reminded Kentuckians that in December 2021, the FCC launched the Affordable Connectivity Program. This is a long-term, $14 billion program to ensure Kentuckians can afford the internet needed for work, school, health care and more. Qualifying households can receive a monthly benefit up to $30 per household. For more information or to apply, visit this website.