Two Eastern Kentucky counties ahead of broadband speeds in America

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JACKSON COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - The population of Jackson and Owsley counties may be small but every home and business in those counties has fiber access. "we just finished up the last few miles so everyone now has gigabit capability," said Keith Gabbard, CEO Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative.

With the help of a $17.5 million grant, Jackson and Owsley counties are ahead of the rest of the United States when it comes to broadband speeds. "We're like 10 times faster than the average speed over the United States then we're 100 times faster than most people in Kentucky," Gabbard said.

Gabbard said it is unique for folks in these counties to get something first. "In this case we've got something that not only rural counties want but cities like Lexington want and don't have," said Gabbard.

Russ Hensley is the 12th District Councilman for Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. "We're trying to be competitive with other economic cities around us and a gigabit is actually a job attractor. So Owsley County and Jackson County and Mckee now are able to recruit jobs that are able to compete with cities like Lexington," said Hensley.

The Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program is trying to fill jobs with the help of broadband expansion. The overall goal for both Eastern Kentucky and larger cities to improve economic development and bring in more jobs.