Berry, KY receives $209,891 in federal broadband grants
Berry, KY: Today, Congressman Geoff Davis presented a check totaling $209,891 to the community of Berry and SouthEast Telephone for the expansion of broadband. The Community Connect Grant is designated for the creation of vital broadband networks for rural communities that are currently without high-speed Internet service. The grant will create a technology center on the first and second floors the Berry City Hall equipped with 10 computer workstations to enable all Berry residents to access high-speed Internet free of charge. Moreover, the grant provides free broadband access to critical community facilities such as fire, law enforcement and emergency response services.
"I am proud to be here today to celebrate the City of Berry's USDA Community Connect grant," stated Congressman Geoff Davis. "This grant will be instrumental in providing the citizens of Berry with access to high-speed and reliable Internet resources. In addition, this grant will provide funding for a community computer lab. Computers and broadband Internet are fueling growth and development in our rural communities, and I am pleased that the City of Berry will now have access to these important technologies."
Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher said the Community Connect Grants will give the communities access to the world of resources available on the Internet. “My administration is committed to full broadband deployment for every Kentucky community, and these grants support Kentucky's Prescription for Innovation to help ensure that no community is left behind,” he said.
Kentucky's Prescription for Innovation is a comprehensive plan to accelerate technology growth, particularly in the areas of broadband deployment and technology literacy and usage. The initiative seeks to blanket Kentucky with broadband service by the end of 2007.
ConnectKentucky, Kentucky’s technology-based economic development partnership, developed the grant applications in partnership with Southeast Telephone. Other federal, state and local government officials and agencies supported the grant process, including Kentucky's congressional delegation, the Department of Commercialization and Innovation in the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet, Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), Kentucky DataSeam and Kentucky Department for Workplace Investment in the Office of Employment and Training (OET).
Residents of Berry, Kentucky understand how important broadband is to their future. Prior to the announcement of the Community Connect Grant, Berry Mayor Donald Adams described the dire need for broadband in his community in an article in USA Today. “We're still clinging on,” Adams told the newspaper, “hoping the Internet will help us start something that will help our economy.” For Berry, Kentucky, assistance is now on the way.
ConnectKentucky reports that since 2004, statewide broadband availability and usage have increased by 45 percent and 46 percent respectively. An estimated 429,000 previously unserved households can now access broadband as private sector investment in telecommunications infrastructure has reached an unprecedented level in Kentucky. Currently, 87 percent of Kentucky homes can access broadband, on track to reach 100 percent availability in 2007. Home computer ownership has grown by 17 percent, and 116 counties are actively engaged in the eCommunity Leadership process to establish a nine sector technology growth plan for accelerating technology locally. In addition, the rate of Kentucky’s high-tech job growth is outpacing the national average.
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Note to editors: For more information about the 2006 Community Connect Broadband Grant Recipients, please see http://www.usda.gov/rus/telecom/commconnect.htm.
About ConnectKentucky: ConnectKentucky is leading the way into a new economy for Kentuckians. As Kentucky’s technology-based economic development partnership, ConnectKentucky is a public-private alliance of leaders from private industry, government and education. By leveraging the latest in technology and networking, ConnectKentucky is ensuring Kentucky remains the place of choice to work, live and raise a family. For more information, visit www.connectkentucky.org.