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Local broadband provider first in nation to sign up for emergency broadband benefit

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 7:35 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Eastern Telephone and Technologies in Pikeville was the first broadband provider in the nation to sign up for an emergency broadband benefit.

“We think this is really important for the people in our area,” said Darrell Maynard, President of Eastern Telephone. “It will give households a lot of choices on how to manage their budget.”

As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, this benefit will help low-income households in the region by giving families $50 per month toward their internet bills. Eastern Telephone representatives said the program will better connect households to jobs, healthcare services, and virtual classrooms for students in the area.

“There are a lot of people who can’t afford high-speed internet,” said Corey Weatherford, Director of Manage Operations. ”Right now people are working from home and kids are in school from home and you need to have internet for them.”

Eastern Telephone is not the only business that could benefit from the program. Weatherford said other local companies may get involved as well. And though the company was the first in the nation to sign up, Maynard said it was not about beating anyone to the punch.

“It’s not so much that we worried about being the first in the nation to apply. It just happened that way,” said Maynard. “Mostly it’s about the fact that we think this is really important for the people in our area.”

He said 25% of the families in Eastern Kentucky could receive the credit, which would help the entire region.

According to the FCC, the start date for the benefit has not been established, but you should be able to sign up starting at the end of April.

For more information about the emergency broadband benefit, visit the FCC website.

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