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Biden administration awards over $21.5 million for rural high speed internet in eastern Kentucky


More money is coming into eastern Kentucky to provide high speed internet access. Over $21.5 million dollars has been awarded by the federal government to expand services in three eastern Kentucky counties.

Tom Carew is the Kentucky director for rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In an interview with WEKU, he said the funds are part of the Biden Administration’s ReConnect Program.

“That’s through our rural utilities program, and that’s been around for a couple or three years at least now. It’s providing grant money to private and public phone companies around the United States to help bring that final mile right to everyone’s door,” said Carew.

He said having access to high-speed internet has been a necessity.

“For education purposes, or hospitals, their ability to reach out to the rural clinics. I know in St. Claire’s case in Morehead, the clinic they have in Sandy Hook, they can telemedicine connect to UK and a UK surgeon and, or specialist can visit and see a patient up close.”

Of the money just announced, $12.18 million dollars will go to Thacker-Grigsby Telephone Company Inc. to connect residents in Breathitt and Leslie Counties. Mountain Rural Telephone Co-op Corporation Inc. will get $9.37 million dollars to serve customers in Powell County. The two phone companies to provide service to over 53-hundred people in Powell, Leslie, and Breathitt Counties.

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Stan Ingold is WEKU's News Director. He has worked in public broadcasting for 18 years, starting at Morehead State Public Radio before spending the past 10 years at Alabama Public Radio. Stan has been honored with numerous journalism awards for his public radio reporting.
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