USDA invests $55M for broadband in Kentucky, Tennessee

Published 7:51 am Friday, January 31, 2020

COLUMBIA, Ky. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has invested $55.3 million in four high-speed broadband projects that will benefit rural residents of Kentucky and Tennessee.

Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy announced the funding Wednesday in a statement, saying the projects are part of the first round of the agency’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments.

The projects will create or improve broadband connectivity for more than 12,250 rural households and nearly 100 farms and businesses, the statement said.

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One project benefits residents of both states. Gibson Electric Membership Corporation will use a $32 million loan to deploy a network in rural Fulton, Graves and Hickman counties in Kentucky, and in Dyer, Lake, Obion and Weakley counties in Tennessee.

Three other projects will benefit Kentucky. Duo County Telephone Cooperative Corporation Inc. will use an $18.7 million grant to deploy a network in rural Adair, Cumberland and Russell counties. The Ballard Rural Telephone Cooperative Corporation will use a $2.4 million grant to deploy a network in rural McCracken County. The Thacker-Grigsby Telephone Company Inc. will use a $2.3 million grant to deploy a network in rural Breathitt County.

High-speed broadband internet is essential for businesses and families, LaVoy said.