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Kentucky Governor, Department for Local Government and ConnectKentucky Announce Grant to Provide Broadband Access to Eastern Kentucky Counties

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear presents a check to Chip Spann, René True and Mark Messer of ConnectKentucky during the “Coal to Broadband” launch on Tuesday.

Governor Steve Beshear joined with Department for Local Government Commissioner Tony Wilder and ConnectKentucky Executive Director René True today to announce the launch of the “Coal to Broadband: Making the Transition, Making the Connection,” program, which will help bring broadband service to Breathitt, Estill, Lee and Powell counties.

ConnectKentucky will serve as technical adviser on the project, working with the newly formed nonprofit, the Breathitt, Estill, Lee, Powell Regional Technology Authority (RTA).

All four of the grant’s impacted counties are in the bottom 25 counties in Kentucky for broadband availability. Breathitt and Lee counties are the two lowest served counties in the state, both with below 50 percent availability of broadband to the home. In addition, nearly 7,000 homes in Breathitt, Estill, Lee and Powell counties do not have high-speed Internet available at home.

“Coal to Broadband” will help ensure that these counties move toward more accessible and widespread broadband connections. The program will use multi-county coal severance dollars along with Appalachian Regional Commission funds for an economic development project to bring broadband access to the four county Eastern Kentucky region.

To learn more, download the program’s frequently asked questions here or view the program’s press release here.