LEXINGTON, KY., Feb. 3, 2020 – Fresh off a $55.3 million broadband announcement, USDA Rural Development Kentucky State Director Hilda Legg today announced an additional $1.26 million to improve broadband in rural Lee County. 

The grant funds come through Rural Development’s Community Connect Grant Program, which helps spread broadband connectivity to rural areas. 

“Last-mile broadband connectivity is fundamental in so many parts of our society,” said Legg. “Businesses use it to purchase inventory; schools use it for distance learning; high-school and col- lege students use it to complete classwork; broadband is no longer a luxury rural America can live without. This administration has proven its commitment to expanding broadband time and again, and this is just the latest proof of that commitment.” 

Peoples Telecom, wholly owned and operated by Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative, will use the $1,266,986 grant to help construct a 27.6-mile fiber-to-the-premises network passing 137 households and one business in Cressmont, Kentucky. Also, a community center will be provided where residents can access the internet free of charge for at least two years. 

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agricul- ture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB). 

“Reliable high-speed Internet connectivity is critical to Lee County’s bright future, and I was proud to support Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative’s effort to lead Kentucky’s advancement in the digital age,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The new infrastructure can help boost education and health care for families in Lee County and help connect small businesses to their consumers throughout Appalachia and beyond. As Senate Majority Leader, I’m focused on directing federal funding to worthy projects in our communities, and I was proud to help secure these resources to tap into Eastern Kentucky’s potential.” 

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business develop- ment; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high- speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov


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