Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Kentucky to Receive $246 million in Stimulus Funds to Expand Broadband Access

Press Release Date:  Thursday, August 05, 2010  
Contact Information:  Kerri Richardson
Jill Midkiff

Nearly quarter billion brings total funds to more than $325 million for high-speed Internet access to Kentucky homes and businesses

Kentucky at WorkFRANKFORT, Ky. – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Gov. Steve Beshear today announced that Kentucky will receive an additional $246 million in broadband infrastructure grants and loans through eight recently sanctioned projects as part of the Rural Utility Service Broadband Initiatives Program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). These funds will help dramatically expand broadband infrastructure throughout the state, particularly in its most underserved areas, providing affordable high-speed Internet access to homeowners and businesses.

Today’s announcement is the result of persistent state efforts led by Gov. Beshear to access Recovery Act funds, recognizing that affordable broadband is critical to economic and workforce development and helping ensure quality health care and public safety services across the Commonwealth.  These funds will serve thousands of Kentucky homes and businesses, and create hundreds of jobs in local communities, especially in rural areas that are the most underserved and also pose the greatest need.

“Not only will this funding help create jobs, it will also help bring much-needed infrastructure to our rural communities, helping them to expand their services, attracting new businesses that will bring economic growth and jobs by providing affordable access to critical 21st Century technologies,” said Gov. Beshear. “Expanding broadband access in these rural communities will make it easier for Kentuckians to receive better health care, quality education and critical small businesses opportunities. This is remarkable news for Kentucky.”

Including the projects announced today, Kentucky has received more than $325.3 million in grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utility Service (RUS) Broadband Initiatives Programs (BIP).  These funds are used to create physical infrastructure in communities that are currently unserved or underserved by broadband providers throughout the Commonwealth.

“Many rural communities in Kentucky were disadvantaged in the 20th Century manufacturing economy because of their remote geography,” explained Jonathan Miller, secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, who leads the Beshear Administration’s broadband efforts.  “But in the 21st Century’s information economy, access to affordable broadband makes geography less important.  This extraordinary infusion of Recovery Act funds will not only help level the playing field for Kentucky, but we now will have the opportunity to become national leaders in knowledge and technology expansion.”

Recipients of these ARRA funds and their projects are:

  • Leslie County Telephone Company: $6,169,295
    A grant with an additional $2 million in outside capital to bring high-speed DSL to unserved rural territories. It is estimated to create 100 jobs.
  • Salem Telephone Company: $1,934,474
    A grant with an additional $644,000 in outside capital to bring high-speed DSL broadband to unserved rural territories. The project will benefit 1,270 people, 15 businesses and seven community groups.
  • West Kentucky Rural Telephone Cooperative Corporation Inc.: $123,800, 000
    An award to construct fiber optic communication lines to the home in the operating territories of Western Kentucky and Tennessee. The project will benefit 41,000 people, 3,500 businesses and 100 community institutions while creating 160 jobs.
  • Highland Telephone Cooperative Inc.: $66,489,162
    An award to provide communication and enhanced broadband to Morgan and Scott counties in Tennessee and McCreary County, Ky. The project will benefit 52,000 people, 1,800 businesses and 100 community groups.
  • Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative Corp Inc.: $25,514,182
    Award to be used to provide broadband to users in Jackson and Cow Creek, Ky. More than 11,000 people will benefit, in addition to 100 businesses and 30 community institutions.
  • Foothills Rural Telephone Cooperative Corporation Inc.: $20,972,482
    Award will be used to construct a Fiber-to-the-Premise/Last Mile project in Magoffin and Lawrence counties. An estimated 300 jobs will be created while benefiting 6,000 people, 800 businesses and eight community groups.
  • Windstream Corporation: $951,445
    This award will be used to extend high-speed DSL to unserved areas. More than 8,000 people and approximately 50 businesses will benefit.
  • Mikrotec CATV LLC: $829,813
    This award, matched by $276,000 in private capital, will be used to provide broadband Internet to Eolia, Oven Fork and Partridge, Ky. Nearly 2,000 people will benefit, as well as 15 businesses and five community groups.

Announcements made prior to today include:

  • The City of Williamstown: $535,308
    Proposes to deploy high-speed Fiber-To-The-Home system of broadband services to Corinth, Ky. and other areas in Grant and Owen counties.
  • Mountain RTCC, West Liberty, Ky.: $78,124,579
    Grants and loans will be used to deploy a fiber-cable based Broadband Network in Morgan, Menifee, Wolfe and Elliott counties. This network will provide more than 20 mbps bandwidth to end users.