FRANKFORT – Kentucky will receive a federal “Internet for All” grant award of $5.8 million to support the expansion of high-speed, reliable internet throughout the commonwealth, Gov. Andy Beshear announced December 8, 2022.
Kentucky applied for and was awarded the funding through the federal Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, BEAD will provide $42.45 billion to states and U.S. territories to expand high-speed internet access by funding broadband planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs.
“High-speed internet is crucial for future job creation, education opportunities, health accessibility and economic endeavors,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said yesterday in announcing the award to Kentucky. “I commend Gov. Beshear and his team for their efforts to expand high-speed internet access. They have displayed a great dedication to closing Kentucky’s digital divide through their existing Better Kentucky Plan and their proposed Better Internet for Kentucky Plan.”
The planning grant was awarded to Kentucky through the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The more than $5 million Kentucky is to receive will fund:
- Identification of unserved and underserved locales;
- Increasing capacity of Kentucky’s broadband office;
- Asset mapping to identify existing activities that support the project’s goal and identify gaps in access, affordability and adoption;
- Collaboration with Kentucky’s state digital equity plan; and
- Local engagement with unserved, underserved and underrepresented communities to better understand barriers to adoption.
This funding will help to further boost Gov. Beshear’s commitment to expand high-speed internet access to areas of the commonwealth with unserved populations or those with download speeds of 10 Mbps or less through his Better Internet Initiative.
“Expanding access to reliable, high-speed internet will improve the lives of Kentuckians and support our future economic growth,” Gov. Beshear said. “I’m grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for this ‘Internet for All’ grant, which, when coupled with our already historic investments in broadband infrastructure, will bring transformational change to the commonwealth and benefit Kentuckians for generations to come.”
This summer, Gov. Beshear announced more than $89.6 million in grants to expand high-speed internet access to more than 34,000 Kentucky families and businesses in 36 counties. Combined with matching funds pledged by the grant recipients, the total investment for the first round of broadband grants exceeds more $204 million.
On Nov. 21, Gov. Beshear announced applications are now being accepted for a second round of more than $206 million in broadband grants that will help create an essential lifeline to health care, work, school, family, friends, customers and communities for even more Kentuckians.
The Governor’s Better Internet Initiative is a key part of his Better Kentucky Plan, which 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 high-speed internet, build stronger communities, improve roads and bridges and expand electric vehicle infrastructure.