Among the first Kentuckians to get connected thanks to Better Internet Program and Gibson Connect
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 1, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Gibson Connect has linked approximately 650 households and businesses in Western Kentucky to reliable high-speed internet according to the cooperative. These are among the first Kentuckians to be connected to high-speed internet via grant funds from the Better Internet Program.
When completed by the end of this year, Gibson Connect will have applied a $4.7 million grant to connect 1,704 homes and 270 businesses to high-speed internet. These locations are primarily in underserved rural areas of Fulton and Hickman counties, with some in Carlisle County, along and west of U.S. Highway 51, and a small number in western Graves County.
This news follows Gov. Beshear securing a nearly $1.1 billion federal grant in June, the largest public investment in high-speed internet in the state’s history, which will bring access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet service to every Kentuckian.
“This project is making a difference for so many Western Kentucky families, and I want to thank Gibson Connect for their work getting folks online very quickly,” Gov. Beshear said. “We are going to make sure every home and business in Kentucky has access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet, so they can take full advantage of the opportunities coming our way and stay connected to work, school, friends and family.”
Heidi and Andy Floyd of Clinton have been connected to Gibson Connect’s high-speed fiber internet service since February. They subscribed as soon as it became available in their area.
“The speed is different than any other provider I have used before. Everyone in our household can use it with no interruptions,” Ms. Floyd said. “I work from home, so I am online all day. My two boys can use their Chromebooks to do homework. Everyone uses the Wi-Fi without any trouble!”
“We’ve known what a positive difference high-speed broadband access would make for Hickman County, and I’m grateful that it is now a reality,” said Hickman County Judge/Executive Kenny Wilson. “We appreciate Gibson EMC and Gibson Connect for their vision and commitment to providing this essential service to our rural Kentucky residents and the Commonwealth of Kentucky for supporting this broadband access.”
Dan Rodamaker, president and CEO of Gibson EMC and Gibson Connect, said, “I am thankful for the support from Gov. Beshear, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the dedication and hard work of our employees and contractors as we conquer the challenges of meeting the need for fast, reliable and affordable internet services. By leveraging this advanced infrastructure, our customers will gain access to reliable, high-speed internet services, unlocking countless opportunities for education, remote work, telehealth and entertainment.”
House Bill 320 and House Bill 382, signed into law by Gov. Beshear, established Kentucky’s Broadband Deployment Fund to support the Better Internet Program to assist private sector and governmental agencies in the cost of constructing the “last mile” of high-speed internet to unserved and underserved households and businesses across Kentucky. For more information about the program and other broadband development grants, visit broadband.ky.gov.
Gov. Beshear Prioritizes High-Speed Internet Expansion
Gov. Beshear has made high-speed internet expansion a top priority. Gov. Beshear’s administration was the first to put in place a high-speed internet grant funding program.
His administration recently installed Wi-Fi networks at Jenny Wiley State Park Campground and Carr Creek State Park Campground, both of which housed survivors of last year’s devastating floods in Eastern Kentucky.
In June 2022, Gov. Beshear announced Kentucky’s second-largest public sector investment for expanding high-speed internet: $203 million to ensure access for more than 34,000 families and businesses. In November 2022, he announced a second round of grant funding that included more than $206 million.
In August 2022, the Governor announced $20 million in grant funding to assist eligible internet providers with utility pole replacement costs.
In December 2022, Kentucky received a $5.8 million planning grant from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.
In February 2023, Gov. Beshear announced a 14-stop Better Internet Initiative Listening Tour so his administration could hear directly from Kentuckians about their needs for better internet. Soon the administration will publish a Five-Year Action Plan, a requirement of the BEAD program.
The Governor continues to encourage Kentuckians to take the Broadband Speed Test and to sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program if they are eligible.
About Gibson Electric Membership Corp. and Gibson Connect
Gibson Connect offers options of 250 megabits per second and 1 gigabit per second for residential subscribers. The service is symmetrical – meaning the download and upload speeds are the same. For more information about Gibson Connect services and to see if your home or business is in our internet service area, visit Join.GibsonConnect.com.
Gibson EMC is a local, not-for-profit, member-owned and member-controlled electric cooperative serving more than 39,000 homes and businesses in eight west Tennessee counties (Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Haywood, Lake, Lauderdale, Obion and Madison) and four west Kentucky counties (Carlisle, Fulton, Graves and Hickman). Its mission is to enhance members’ quality of life by providing exceptional services that are reliable, affordable and safe. Gibson Connect is a wholly owned, not-for-profit subsidiary of Gibson EMC, working to provide high-speed, fiber-based broadband service access to the cooperative’s eligible members.
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