FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – The state of Kentucky’s efforts to improve broadband internet service appear to have paid off, as Kentucky has been one of the top states for an increase in internet speed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a website monitoring the telecommunications landscape.
WhistleOut reported Wednesday that Internet download speeds in Kentucky increased 71%, ranking third among states in the country, behind Alaska (171%) and Idaho (78%).
It was the second year in a row that Kentucky ranked third for the increase in Internet speed in the United States. In 2020, Kentucky’s download speeds increased 37%, after Wyoming at 52% and Alaska at 40%, from the previous year.
At the other end of the scale, West Virginia was the only state to experience a decrease in internet speed, down 17.6%. Overall, the United States has seen an average 40% increase in Internet download speed since the start of the pandemic, according to WhistleOut.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has invested hundreds of millions of dollars and continues to do so to improve high-speed internet speed and access throughout Kentucky.
In August 2020, Governor Andy Beshear committed $ 8 million to fund the CARES Act to expand internet connectivity to elementary and secondary school students and their families.
Through a bipartisan agreement with state lawmakers signed by the governor earlier this year, Kentucky’s Broadband Deployment Fund will help private sector entities and government agencies meet the cost of building the ‘last mile’ of High-speed Internet access to unserved and underserved households. and businesses across Kentucky.
The fund includes $ 300 million to meet the connectivity needs of these communities, including $ 250 million for the construction of high-speed Internet infrastructure to connect unserved and underserved areas – of which no more than 50 million dollars can be awarded before April 1, 2022 – and $ 50 million for economic development opportunities.
Combined with at least 50% of the required federal matching investments, a minimum of $ 600 million will support the expansion of high-speed Internet in Kentucky, creating more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Coupled with broadband speed test, access mapping and the KentuckyWired project, Kentucky has the potential to be at the forefront of nationwide broadband expansion, administration says Beshear.
Kentucky received a $ 1 million federal grant on Wednesday to further expand high-speed Internet service.
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