Through an investment of $386 million, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said his state will bring high-speed internet access to more than 42,600 homes and businesses for the first time.
The funding will allow internet providers to run fiber to 46 counties to expand high-speed internet access in the state. The governor’s office noted that of the 42,600 homes and businesses that will be connected with the new funding, more than 25,000 locations are considered to have no service currently, and more than 17,000 are considered unserved.
“High-speed internet is not a luxury anymore. It’s a necessity for work, school, health care and more, and every Kentuckian deserves access,” Gov. Beshear said. “During our first round of state funding, we made the largest investment in our history, and today we are breaking our own record with another historic milestone toward our promise to connect every home and business in the commonwealth to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.”
For his part, Beshear awarded 56 grants totaling more than $196 million from the Kentucky Broadband Deployment Fund. Internet service providers that received grant funding will also contribute more than $190 million in matching funds.
The governor’s office noted that the grant funds are the result of a bipartisan agreement signed into law by Gov. Beshear in April 2021 that allocated $300 million in Federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars to the Kentucky Broadband Deployment Fund for the construction of high-speed internet infrastructure to connect areas currently without access.
The announcement was met with praise for local government leaders.
“Woodford County is making the biggest investment in high-speed internet ever because for today’s education and economy to work for everyone, from our farms to the Kentucky River valley, and especially for our children, internet access is as important as electricity, water and basic services,” said Woodford County Judge/Executive James Kay. “We would not be able to deliver high-quality internet without state support and the leadership of Gov. Beshear.”