CONNECT THE FUTURE KENTUCKY

OUR AGENDA: ACCELERATING BROADBAND CONNECTIVITY TO MORE KENTUCKIANS

Today, access to modern and reliable high-speed internet service is critical, yet nearly 300,000 Kentuckians remain without connectivity.

Our mission is plain and simple: create an environment that encourages investment in expanding broadband deployment throughout Kentucky.

WHAT’S HOLDING US BACK?

High-speed internet provides undeniable benefits. Yet, numerous barriers exist today that slow or prevent broadband deployment, especially in rural areas. About 82% of those without access to high-speed broadband live in rural areas. FCC data reveals that only 17 of Kentucky’s 120 counties are currently equipped with the infrastructure necessary to provide nearly all residents with high-speed internet connectivity. In addition, 18 counties in the Commonwealth have less than 75% broadband availability.

COVID-19 further highlighted the importance of access to high-speed internet for all Americans as it’s critical for distance learning, telehealth, and working from home. In fact, a recent study estimates that further expanding broadband access to connect all of Kentucky’s unserved homes and small businesses would generate a potential economic gain of up to $6.28 billion for the Commonwealth.

Utility poles play a critical role in expanding broadband access to unserved areas. Often times, broadband providers will need to attach to multiple utility poles in rural areas just to serve one home. This presents a major problem, as many of these old, wooden utility poles need to be upgraded or replaced to handle new broadband attachments. Every month of delayed broadband expansion due to this issue costs Kentucky between $9.29 million to $37.15 million in economic growth.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) recently took positive action to help accelerate the process of attaching high-speed broadband lines to utility poles, but Kentucky needs to take additional steps to lessen the burdensome expenses associated with upgrading and replacing outdated poles.

Commonsense Solutions

The Kentucky General Assembly and Governor Beshear made great strides during the COVID-19 pandemic, acknowledging existing gaps in broadband access and implementing measures to improve it. In the 2022 legislative session, Kentucky can take the next step to maximize taxpayer dollars, ensure the Commonwealth’s competitiveness, advance innovation, and attract greater infrastructure investment needed to fully close the digital divide.

In the federal American Rescue Plan Act, Congress allocated $182.8 million to Kentucky’s treasury under the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund to support broadband infrastructure projects. Kentucky now has the opportunity to allocate $56 million to create a dedicated pole replacement fund, which would ensure the Commonwealth has modern utility poles capable of quickly accommodating new attachments and expediting broadband expansion to unserved areas.

Universal high-speed broadband access for Kentucky is within reach, and addressing the costs of outdated utility poles will help bring faster access to more people and empower more Kentuckians to take advantage of opportunities available in the 21st-century digital economy.

OUR COALITION SUPPORTERS

Kentucky

Internet Access Matters.

300k
Nearly 300,000 Kentuckians, mostly in the state’s rural areas, lack access to wireline broadband, according to the FCC.
The high cost of replacing old utility poles, particularly in Eastern Kentucky, inhibits broadband expansion.
40th
BroadbandNow ranks Kentucky 40th in broadband access. We can do better.

News & Updates

Apr 6, 2022
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

Resources

CEDIK Digital Divide County Data Profiles

Principles For Broadband Expansion

Join Connect The Future Kentucky

Do you want to connect more Kentuckians to the future? Do you want to strengthen our economy, expand opportunity, and usher in a better future for our commonwealth and our country?

If so, we want you to stand with us. The more leaders who get involved, the more we will accomplish, and the more good we’ll do for Kentuckians and the Commonwealth.

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