Governor’s Better Internet program gives Boyle County more broadband access

Published 2:13 pm Monday, July 4, 2022

As part of his Better Kentucky Plan, Gov. Andy Beshear recently announced a historic investment of more than $203 million to expand reliable and affordable high-speed Internet to more than 34,000 Kentucky families and businesses.

The Better Internet program is providing more than $89.1 million in 46 grant awards to 12 Internet service providers and local governments across 35 Kentucky counties. Grant recipients have pledged funds to match the state’s contributions, bringing the total investment for this round of broadband expansion awards to over $203 million.

Charter Communications received 18 grant awards totaling $49.9 million. The overall project investment is $118.8 million, including the required matching funds. This investment will expand access to high-speed Internet to 18,553 currently unserved households and businesses located in Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Carroll, Henry, Jefferson, Jessamine, Lincoln, Madison, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble counties.

Spectrum Cable, which is part of Charter Communications, has received $2.3 million on behalf of Boyle County to provide broadband service to underserved areas of the county.

“This is a $6.3 million dollar project, with Spectrum investing $4 million as a match for the grant funding. Gov. Beshear’s award will go far in taking us through the middle mile into the last mile,” Boyle County Judge Executive Howard Hunt said in a news release.

“I am incredibly pleased to announce what I believe is the single largest provision of funding for high-speed Internet in our commonwealth’s history,” Gov. Beshear said. “High-speed, reliable Internet service is not just the infrastructure of the future, it is the infrastructure of the present. It is just as important right now as roads and bridges. And today is a key part of our plan to build a better Kentucky, as high-speed Internet will be critical to the success of our state’s economy and to future job creation.”

The awards were made using a competitive process managed by the Finance and Administration Cabinet, which issued a Request for Proposals in August 2021. An evaluation team comprised of state government employees spent six months evaluating and scoring the nearly 100 proposals received in response to the RFP. The 12 successful applicants, representing 46 projects, were selected based on their demonstrated ability to meet certain conditions required to receive this funding.

“These grants will lower the cost of construction so that our most rural areas will have access to this necessity of high-speed Internet,” State Budget Director John Hicks said. “These funds are dedicated to unserved areas in Kentucky. We’re also setting up Kentucky’s first Office of Broadband Development to help administer and create a master plan for the commonwealth to provide universal service to every Kentuckian.”

Boyle County Magistrate Jason Cullen expressed his exuberance at the news, “The fourth district has a large area of underserved homes.  This is excellent news for my constituents.  Broadband is the modern form of communication and information sourcing.”

“The first district, which I represent, encompasses a majority of the underserved areas identified by Spectrum/Charter Cable,” said Magistrate Tom Ellis. “My district will be greatly enhanced and I cannot think of a more valuable initiative to support.”