U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Kentucky State Director Hilda Legg today announced the USDA is investing over $39.2 million to provide or improve rural broadband service in Kentucky.
“Broadband connectivity is a necessity to economic development, healthcare, and quality of life, and these projects will help expand that connectivity,” said Legg. “These grants are extremely competitive, and I’m proud to announce almost $4.8 million in Community Connect grant funds is coming to rural Kentucky.”
In fiscal year 2019, over 60 applications from across the country competed, seven of which came from Kentucky. Of those seven, two were awarded.
Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative Corporation was awarded a grant of $2.396 million to construct a 47.5-mile fiber-to-the-premises network in Primrose, Kentucky, in Lee County. The network will pass 269 residences, four businesses, and a community center, where residents can access the internet free of charge for at least two years.
Crystal Broadband Networks Inc. was awarded a grant of $2.386 million to construct a fiber-to-the-premises network to the service area of Beverly, Kentucky, and Field, Kentucky, both in Bell County. The network will support service at levels up to 1 Gbps for each subscriber and will pass 101 establishments. Residents will be able to access broadband, free of charge, for at least two years in a to-be-established community center.
Legg also announced today a $34.45 million loan to Logan Telephone Cooperative Inc. to upgrade a fiber-to-the-home telecommunications system within Butler, Logan, and Muhlenberg counties in rural, southwestern Kentucky. The deployment of this system will enable rural families, educators, and businesses to access higher speed broadband internet as well as improved telephone services.
“I’d like to congratulate Logan Telephone Cooperative for their commitment to their rural customers,” said Legg. “Service providers looking to expand their rural broadband coverage should contact their local Rural Development office to see how we can work together to help rural America prosper.”
USDA is making the investments through the Community Connect Grant Program, the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program and the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. Investing in telecommunications infrastructure connects people to each other: businesses to customers, farmers to markets, and students to a world of knowledge. Below are examples of the projects that will receive USDA funding.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.