Applications open for high-speed Internet grants
Published 4:14 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Gov. Andy Beshear announced the application window is open for the next round of grant funding to support the state’s expansion of high-speed internet access to more people across Kentucky.
This round includes more than $206 million. The distribution of these funds supports Gov. Beshear’s Better Internet Initiative, which is committed to expanding high-speed internet access to areas of the state with unserved populations or those that have download speeds of 10 Mbps or less.
“Access to reliable, high-speed internet is not only essential to our future economic growth, it is critical infrastructure that is as vital as roads and bridges,” Beshear said. “These grant funds help us ensure we are reaching every corner of the Commonwealth, by helping more families have high-speed internet for the first time.”
Applications for grant funding are available from the Office of Broadband Development and will be competitively awarded to high-speed internet networks owned, operated or affiliated with local governments, nonprofits and cooperatives, as well as private providers. Applications will be accepted until February 6, 2023, and grants will be awarded based on an applicant’s demonstrated ability to meet the criteria outlined in the application.
This summer, Gov. Beshear announced the first round of 47 broadband grants totaling more than $89.6 million that will help bring high-speed internet access to unserved locations across the state. They were awarded to 12 internet service providers and local governments in 36 Kentucky counties. Each of the grant recipients pledged at least 50% in matching funds to support these projects, bringing the total investment for the first round of broadband expansion awards to over $203 million.
That investment is supporting the expansion of high-speed internet access to more than 34,000 Kentucky families and businesses, helping them stay connected to health care resources, work, school, family, friends, their customers and their communities.
The funding legislation, approved by the General Assembly in 2021 and 2022, earmarked $300 million for the construction of high-speed internet infrastructure to connect areas currently without access.
Combined with matching funds provided by service providers and local governments, an estimated $500 million will support the expansion of high-speed internet in Kentucky, creating more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Coupled with an expected federal broadband grant award to be received in 2023 from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the KentuckyWired project, the state is expected to move toward universal access to high-speed internet.