News - Stimulus funds to expand broadband access in Kentucky
In early August, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Gov. Steve Beshear announced that Kentucky will receive an additional $246 million in broadband infrastructure grants and loans through eight recently sanctioned projects as part of the Rural Utility Service Broadband Initiatives Program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). These funds will help dramatically expand broadband infrastructure throughout the state, particularly in its most underserved areas, providing affordable high-speed Internet access to homeowners and businesses.
The announcement is the result of persistent state efforts led by Gov. Beshear to access Recovery Act funds, recognizing that affordable broadband is critical to economic and workforce development and helping ensure quality health care and public safety services across the Commonwealth. These funds will serve thousands of Kentucky homes and businesses, and create hundreds of jobs in local communities, especially in rural areas that are the most underserved and also pose the greatest need.
“Not only will this funding help create jobs, it will also help bring much-needed infrastructure to our rural communities, helping them to expand their services, attracting new businesses that will bring economic growth and jobs by providing affordable access to critical 21st Century technologies,” said Gov. Beshear. “Expanding broadband access in these rural communities will make it easier for Kentuckians to receive better health care, quality education and critical small businesses opportunities. This is remarkable news for Kentucky.”
Including the projects announced in August, Kentucky has received more than $325.3 million in grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utility Service (RUS) Broadband Initiatives Programs (BIP). These funds are used to create physical infrastructure in communities that aren’t currently served or are underserved by broadband providers throughout the Commonwealth.
“Many rural communities in Kentucky were disadvantaged in the 20th Century manufacturing economy because of their remote geography,” explained Jonathan Miller, secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, who leads the Beshear Administration’s broadband efforts. “But in the 21st Century’s information economy, access to affordable broadband makes geography less important. This extraordinary infusion of Recovery Act funds will not only help level the playing field for Kentucky, but we now will have the opportunity to become national leaders in knowledge and technology expansion.”
Story from Governor Steve Beshear’s Communications Office