Kentucky residents and businesses can apply for a share of $182.8 million awarded to the commonwealth to provide more communities with broadband access. The United States Department of the Treasury announced the funding under the Capital Projects Fund (CFP) in President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act.
Governor Andy Beshear joined Treasury officials on a Thursday Zoom call for the announcement. He said the funding would support high-speed internet access for 45,000 Kentucky households and businesses, many of which are currently underserved. “Expanding access to reliable, fast internet is going to improve the lives of Kentucky families, and it’s going to support future economic growth,” Beshear stated.
The funding is in addition to an announcement from the summer of 2022 of an investment that would serve more than 34,000 families and businesses. With this week’s announcement, Beshear said more than $600 million would be directed to expand broadband in Kentucky. “This is a lifeline that can improve our lives, our standard of living, and it’s as important as any road or bridge that’s out there. Better internet is a key part of our plan to build a better Kentucky. It will be critical to the success of our state’s economy and the future of job creation,” Beshear said. He added that every community in Kentucky is important, and “my administration is committed to making investments to getting broadband into every single one of them.”
Cities can apply for funding on the Kentucky Office of Broadband Deployment website under the Funding Programs tab. KOBD Executive Director Megan Sandfoss said officials have until Feb. 6 to apply for the federal funds. She added that there is no cap on the amount of money a city can request.
The Biden administration announced that it had secured commitments from 20 leading internet service providers covering more than 80% of the U.S. population. Each provider funded by the program will participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Plans for high-speed, high-quality internet will be offered for no more than $30 per month to all homes qualified for the Affordable Connectivity Program. Eligible households can receive internet access at no cost.
Citizens and business owners can check their eligibility and sign up at GetInternet.gov. In addition to requiring funding recipients to participate in the ACP, Treasury’s guidance also requires recipients to consider whether the federally funded networks will be affordable to the target markets in their service areas and encourages them to require that a federally funded project offer at least one low-cost option at speeds that are sufficient for a household with multiple users. The plan submitted to Treasury and approved on Thursday represents 100% of the state’s total allocation under the CPF program.