Eastern Kentucky is one step closer to getting high-speed internet into every household thanks in part to the federal Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.
Kentucky will receive the “Internet for All” grant of $5.8 million through the program to help with the planning, infrastructure installation and adoption programs.
The fund will help with:
- Identification of unserved and underserved locales;
- Increasing capacity of Kentucky’s broadband office;
- Asset mapping to identify existing activities that support the project’s goal and identify gaps in access, affordability and adoption;
- Collaboration with Kentucky’s state digital equity plan; and
- Local engagement with unserved, underserved and underrepresented communities to better understand barriers to adoption.
The planning grant was awarded to Kentucky through the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
The grant also helps support Kentucky’s Better Internet Initiative, a grant program that high-speed internet availability to unserved areas in the Commonwealth.
How SOAR can help you get your community connected to high-speed internet
Better internet is critical for areas like Eastern Kentucky where schools, hospitals, organizations and businesses are trying to offer their services to communities in traditional and virtual settings.
A pillar of SOAR’s work is the planning and deployment of affordable high-speed internet
With this in mind, we partnered with Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI) to create Getting Funded: The 2022 Manual for Writing & Winning Broadband Grants.
Inside this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn:
- How to navigate regulatory context and partnerships
- How to evaluate possible funding sources and their parameters
- How to identify actionable funding opportunities
- How to prepare and submit competitive grant proposals
This resource is written specifically for those who don’t have extensive existing knowledge of broadband infrastructure or funding opportunities.
Creative Connectivity Solutions
Eastern Kentucky’s rugged terrain makes last-mile connectivity difficult. The harsh realty is some homes are so remote that landline phone access isn’t reliable.
In 2022, we partnered with the Kentucky Department for Public Health and StarLink to connect 60 homes in remote Bell and Martin counties with high-speed internet. This was done to promote programs such as telehealth to residents who live a long distance from health providers and have transportation challenges.
We also launched EKY Connect through the support of Connect Humanity to build capacity around community broadband planning. We are piloting this project in Boyd County and the cities of Ashland and Catlettsburg.
We want to hear from you! Complete this three-minute survey to help us learn more about you and your community’s need for better connectivity.
How you can help bring broadband to your community
A way to help your community up for success in a digital world would be to use our five essential steps to receive broadband funding.
While much funding is out there for rural broadband projects, they won’t come to us. We have to reach out and apply for these, using all the tools in our toolbox to create standout applications to help our communities win funding.
We have created a step-by-step instruction guide on the best chance of winning funding for a broadband project.
These essential steps can be the beginning of an internal change for those living in your area.
Broadband, but most especially good broadband, is needed for Eastern Kentucky to compete for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
Download our guide, and a member of our team will reach out to learn more about your project.