KY to use $12M to boost internet access in underserved communities Skip to content

KY to use $12M to boost internet access in underserved communities

The Beshear administration put together a “digital equity plan” that was approved by the federal government.

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Photo by Thomas Jensen / Unsplash

Kentucky is set to spend $12 million over the next three years to boost internet access in communities across the state. The funding will go toward more resources to make devices affordable, and improve digital literacy skills and cybersecurity awareness.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration approved the state’s digital equity plan earlier this year, unlocking more federal dollars to address broadband barriers.

Beth Brinley, deputy secretary of the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet, said the plan will help ensure residents have the technology skills needed to improve economic opportunity and quality of life.

“We want to make sure that all of those populations are empowered to fully participate in Kentucky's economy and to develop meaningful relationships through civic engagement and other activities,” she explained.

She said more than 500 local partners, including libraries and advocacy groups, will participate in the digital equity initiative. The effort comes as the Biden administration ends its Affordable Connectivity Program. The federal program, which expired on June 1, helped more than 450,000 Kentucky households pay for monthly internet service.

Gary Adkins, volunteer state president of AARP Kentucky, added that for many of the state's older residents, high-speed internet is not a luxury, but an essential tool for navigating modern life.

“In order to access government services, participate in virtual medical services, maintain employment, find employment, just the daily needs and being able to connect socially,” Adkins said.

According to federal data, 59% of people age 65 and older living in poverty use the internet in their homes, compared to 98% of low-income adults ages 18-49.


Written by Nadia Ramlagan.

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