U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Kentucky State Director Dr. Tom Carew today announced over $33.7 million to expand high-speed internet Breathitt, Leslie and Powell counties.
Kentucky is one of 24 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Palau, where $759 million is being invested to broaden critical last-mile internet infrastructure.
“I’ve talked with people across the Commonwealth, and resoundingly, I hear about the need for more high-speed internet access,” Carew said. “Because of these Biden-Harris administration investments, scores of families, businesses, and educational facilities will have the ability to get high-speed internet, which we know is crucial to thriving communities. Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, we are committed to expanding access, no matter where people live, to high-speed internet.”
Mountain Rural Telephone Coop Corp Inc. will use a $9.37 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 871 people, 50 farms, 45 businesses and two educational facilities to high-speed internet in Powell County, Kentucky. Mountain Rural Telephone Cooperative Corporation Inc. will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC's Lifeline Program.
Thacker-Grigsby Telephone Company Inc. will use a $12.18 million grant and a $12.18 million loan through the ReConnect Program to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 4,466 people, 39 businesses, 27 farms and four educational facilities to high-speed internet in Breathitt and Leslie counties in Kentucky. Thacker-Grigsby Telephone Company Inc. will make high-speed internet affordable by participating in the FCC's Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs.
Projects announced today are part of the third round of ReConnect funding, which totals approximately $1.6 billion so far in 2022.
To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must serve an area that does not have access to service at speeds of 100 megabits per second (download) and 20 Mbps (upload). The applicant must also commit to building facilities capable of providing high-speed internet service with speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in its proposed service area.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.