Better Internet program expanding service in 46 counties
A record $386 million investment to expand internet access in 46 counties has been announced, bringing high-speed internet access to more than 42,600 homes and businesses for the first time.
The funding will allow providers to run fiber to each location. More than 25,000 locations are considered to have no service, and more than 17,000 are considered unserved.
“We are excited for Mercer County residents to have the opportunity to gain access to reliable internet service,” Mercer County Judge/Executive Sarah Steele said. “This is a vital resource for all citizens. It is an important step forward. We are thankful to be awarded this project and excited to see the impact it has in our area.”
“On behalf of Todd County Fiscal Court and our county’s residents, I want to thank Gov. Beshear and all involved for this broadband award,” Todd County Judge/Executive Todd Mansfield said. “With these funds, we now are able to complete the coverage of Todd County from Lake Malone to McKinney Bend, from Big Pond Road to Fairgrounds Road and all areas in between. With the availability of high-speed internet anywhere in Todd County, our residents, our students, our businesses and our industries will be able to thrive like never before.”
“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,” Woodford County Judge/Executive James Kay said. “We would not be able to deliver high-quality internet without state support and the leadership of Gov. Beshear.”
Click here to see the full list of awards.
“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. Andy 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.”
The governor awarded 56 grants totaling more than $196 million from the Kentucky Broadband Deployment Fund, part of his Better Internet program. Internet service providers that received grant funding will also contribute more than $190 million in matching funds.
The awards announced 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 first round of awards from the fund totaled $89.1 million.
Combined with matching funds, more than $203 million was committed to ensure access for more than 34,000 families and businesses. In November 2022, applications were open for the second round of Kentucky Broadband Deployment Fund awards.