FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 26, 2023) – Gov. Andy Beshear said the state has secured a nearly $1.1 billion federal grant, the largest public investment in high-speed internet in the state’s history, which will bring affordable, reliable high-speed internet service to every Kentuckian.
“Today is a historic day for Kentucky! Thanks to the support from the federal government, we are going to help connect every family, community and business to high-speed internet,” Gov. Beshear said. “Never before have we seen this type of investment in high-speed internet, and with it comes new infrastructure, more good jobs for our families and a boost to our already booming economy.”
President Joe Biden announced Kentucky’s funding allocation through the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021, which is the country’s largest-ever investment in high-speed internet. With Monday announcement, Kentucky has now received more than $1.6 billion in total high-speed internet funding since the American Rescue Plan Act was passed in March 2021.
BEAD is a program of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that will fund additional expansion of high-speed internet networks in Kentucky. The program prioritizes projects that serve areas lacking internet speeds above 25/3Mbps. According to the most recent data released last month by the Federal Communications Commission, Kentucky has over 258,000 unserved locations. The Office of Broadband Development will administer a competitive grant process to distribute these funds to eligible subrecipients, including internet service providers and local governments, beginning in early 2024.
“We are prepared to hit the ground running after this historic announcement,” said Meghan Sandfoss, executive director of Kentucky’s Office of Broadband Development. “Combined with the Governor’s previous record-breaking investments to expand access, these new funds are going to drive substantial growth in the reliability and availability of high-speed internet.”
Prior to the BEAD announcement, Gov. Beshear has made high-speed internet expansion a top priority. Gov. Beshear’s administration was the first to put in place a high-speed internet grant funding program.
In June 2022, Gov. Beshear announced Kentucky’s largest-ever public sector investment for expanding high-speed internet: $203 million to ensure access for more than 34,000 families and businesses. In November 2022, he announced a second round of grant funding, including more than $206 million.
In August 2022, the Governor announced $20 million in grant funding to assist eligible internet providers with utility pole replacement costs.
In December 2022, Kentucky received a $5.8 million planning grant from the BEAD Program.
In February 2023, Gov. Beshear announced a 14-stop Better Internet Initiative Listening Tour so his administration could hear directly from Kentuckians about their needs for better internet. Soon the administration will publish a Five-Year Action Plan, a requirement of the BEAD program.
The Governor continues to encourage Kentuckians to take the Broadband Speed Test and sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program if they are eligible.