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Boone County to receive more than $800,000 for high-speed internet as part of Better Kentucky Plan

Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday announced an investment of over $203 million to expand reliable and affordable high-speed internet to more than 34,000 Kentucky families and businesses as part of his Better Kentucky Plan.

Boone County Fiscal Court received a grant for $808,832 from the plan. The county’s overall project cost is $4,880,432 including the required matching funds. The investment will expand access to high-speed internet to 2,130 currently unserved households and businesses located in Boone County.

Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore said financial support for this project will be transformational for the county.

“Boone County is extremely pleased and grateful to KIA in receiving a notice of preliminary award for the county’s highspeed internet project in the amount of $808,832,” Judge Moore said. “These funds will be applied to continuing the buildout of fiber to every household in the county, resulting in universal access to a system capable of delivering 1.0 gigabyte of service. This transformative project continues to move forward and is on schedule for completion during the first half of 2023.”

(Photo from Better Kentucky Plan website)

The Governor said that the state’s Better Internet program is providing more than $89.1 million in 46 grant awards to 12 internet service providers and local governments across 35 Kentucky counties. Grant recipients have pledged funds to match the state’s contributions, bringing the total investment for this round of broadband expansion awards to over $203 million.

“I am incredibly pleased to announce what I believe is the single largest provision of funding for high-speed internet in our commonwealth’s history,” Gov. Beshear said. “High-speed, reliable internet service is not just the infrastructure of the future, it is the infrastructure of the present. It is just as important right now as roads and bridges. And today is a key part of our plan to build a better Kentucky, as high-speed internet will be critical to the success of our state’s economy and to future job creation.”

The awards were made using a competitive process managed by the Finance and Administration Cabinet, which issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in August 2021. An evaluation team comprised of state government employees spent six months evaluating and scoring the nearly 100 proposals received in response to the RFP. The 12 successful applicants, representing 46 projects, were selected based on their demonstrated ability to meet certain conditions required to receive this funding.

“These grants will lower the cost of construction so that our most rural areas will have access to this necessity of high-speed internet,” State Budget Director John Hicks said. “These funds are dedicated to unserved areas in Kentucky. We’re also setting up Kentucky’s first Office of Broadband Development to help administer and create a master plan for the commonwealth to provide universal service to every Kentuckian.”

The awards announced Monday 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 dollars to bring internet access to unserved and underserved communities across the commonwealth.

House Bill 320 and House Bill 382, enacted by the 2021 General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Beshear, established Kentucky’s Broadband Deployment Fund to assist private sector entities and governmental agencies in the cost of constructing the “last mile” of high-speed internet access to unserved and underserved households and businesses across Kentucky.

The fund includes $300 million earmarked for the construction of high-speed internet infrastructure to connect areas currently without access.

Combined with at least 50 percent required matching federal investments, a minimum of $600 million will support the expansion of high-speed internet in Kentucky, creating more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. This historic investment, coupled with the internet speed test, access mapping and the KentuckyWired project, positions the commonwealth to move to the forefront of high-speed internet expansion nationwide.

The Governor’s Better Kentucky Plan aims to help the Commonwealth lead in the post-COVID economy by applying federal dollars to build new schools, deliver clean drinking water, expand access to broadband, build stronger communities, improve roads and bridges and expand electric vehicle infrastructure.

The Governor also reminded Kentuckians that in December 2021, the FCC launched the Affordable Connectivity Program. This is a long-term, $14 billion program to ensure our people can afford the internet needed for work, school, health care and more. Qualifying households can receive a monthly benefit up to $30 per household. For more information or to apply, visit fcc.gov.

From Governor’s Office

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