Connect The Future Welcomes Progress on Kentucky Pole Fund to Speed Broadband Projects
FRANKFORT, KY – Connect The Future (CTF) Kentucky today applauded rural broadband champions in the General Assembly on passage of legislation addressing a key barrier to deployment in unserved communities. On March 30, the Kentucky Senate approved an amended version of HB 315, which included $20 million for a Rural Infrastructure Improvement Fund. The fund will be used to upgrade or replace utility poles in areas where old or damaged poles are holding back the deployment of high-speed internet service. The bill has now been delivered to the governor.
“This fund will help to dramatically accelerate projects aimed at finally delivering broadband to all Kentucky families,” said CTF executive director Zachary Cikanek. “We’re deeply grateful to House Speaker Pro Tempore David Meade, House Appropriations & Revenue Committee Chairman Jason Petrie, Vice Chairman Brandon Reed, as well as Senate leadership, for working on a bipartisan basis to ensure this critical provision made it to Governor Beshear’s desk. For too long, old or damaged utility poles have inhibited efforts to reach an estimated 300,000 Kentuckians, predominantly in rural communities, who still lack access to reliable, high-speed internet.
“Utility poles serve as the backbone of broadband infrastructure in these areas, and a dedicated fund to upgrade these poles promises to help unlock up to $6.28 billion in long-term economic growth for Kentucky families. CTF urges Governor Beshear to swiftly put these resources to work in modernizing the Commonwealth’s broadband infrastructure.”