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Congressman James Comer

Representing the 1st District of Kentucky

Comer Praises Large USDA Investment in Rural Kentucky Broadband

January 29, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a sizeable, $55.3 million investment in high-speed broadband projects in Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District as well as some counties in northern Tennessee.

The project announcements were made on Wednesday morning at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, KY. Ballard Rural Telephone, Duo Broadband, and Gibson Electric each received funding in round one of USDA’s Reconnect Pilot Program. The projects will equip more than 12,250 homes across the region with high-speed broadband capability.

Congressman James Comer applauded the action by the Trump Administration, emphasizing the importance of internet connectivity to success in the modern economy. He appeared at the announcement via video message, where he stated the following:

“Reliable, high-speed broadband should not be a luxury. It is a critical infrastructure item that should be afforded to all Americans, including those in rural areas. An investment in rural America is a positive investment for all of America.”

Counties in Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District that will benefit include Adair, Cumberland, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, McCracken, and Russell. The following specific broadband investments were announced:

  • Ballard Rural Telephone Cooperative Corporation will use a $2.4 million ReConnect Program grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network in rural McCracken County. The funded service areas include 578 households and a critical community facility spread over 20 square miles.
  • Duo County will use an $18.7 million ReConnect Program grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network in rural Adair, Cumberland and Russell counties. The funded service areas include almost 3,650 households spread over 45 square miles.
  • Gibson Electric Membership Corporation will use a $32 million ReConnect Program loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network in rural Fulton, Graves and Hickman counties in Kentucky, and in Dyer, Lake, Obion and Weakley counties in Tennessee. The funded service areas include almost 7,400 households spread over 1,056 square miles.

“Increasing access to rural broadband is a key infrastructure need in the modern economy and one of my top priorities. With this grant, fiber broadband will be built in some of the most rural parts of western and southcentral Kentucky, providing an economic lifeline to our rural citizens,” Comer added.

For more information on efforts by the USDA to stimulate rural development through increased broadband access, visit www.rd.usda.gov. To watch Congressman Comer’s congratulatory video played at the announcement, click here.

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