Governor’s Better Internet program, matching funds expand service in 46 counties
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 5, 2023) – As part of his commitment to connect every home and business in Kentucky to affordable, reliable high-speed internet, today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced a record $386 million investment to expand access in 46 counties, 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. 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. 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 today 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.
In June 2022, Gov. Beshear announced the first round of awards from the fund, totaling $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, he announced applications were open for the second round of Kentucky Broadband Deployment Fund awards.
“We are excited for Mercer County residents to have the opportunity to gain access to reliable internet service,” said Mercer County Judge/Executive Sarah Steele. “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,” said Todd County Judge/Executive Todd Mansfield. “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,” 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.”
“Pennyrile Electric Cooperative is honored to be selected as a recipient of broadband funding support from Gov. Beshear and the state of Kentucky,” said President and CEO Alan Gates. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the state to build a fiber-to-the-home network for our members who are without access to reliable high-speed internet in unserved or underserved rural areas. This funding will allow these areas to grow and thrive economically. We are grateful to the state of Kentucky for their support of the members in the Pennyrile Electric service territory.”
“Charter applauds the Beshear administration’s bold initiative to quickly connect every Kentuckian to reliable, high-quality broadband,” said Ellen Call, Charter Communications’ senior director of state government affairs. “We look forward to the opportunity to extend our ongoing partnership with Kentucky leaders – including the General Assembly and local and county leaders – who, like the administration, recognize the importance of rural connectivity to Kentucky’s future.”
“All Points Broadband is thrilled to continue expanding our existing service offerings across Central Kentucky and bring fiber broadband to communities we call home,” said CEO Jimmy Carr. “All Points Broadband partners with local governments to deliver universal fiber broadband solutions and we are committed to helping bring universal fiber broadband to every unserved Kentuckian. We thank Gov. Beshear and the General Assembly for their leadership in bridging the digital divide.”
From the start of his administration, Gov. Beshear has made high-speed internet expansion a top priority.
This summer, Gov. Beshear announced the state secured a nearly $1.1 billion federal grant from the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program, the largest public investment in high-speed internet in the commonwealth’s history, which will bring affordable, reliable high-speed internet service to every Kentuckian.
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.
In December 2022, Kentucky received a $5.8 million planning grant from the BEAD Program.
In August 2022, the Governor announced $20 million in grant funding to assist eligible internet providers with utility pole replacement costs.
The Governor continues to encourage Kentuckians to take the Broadband Speed Test and sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program if they are eligible.