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Eastern Kentucky businesses react to broadband expansion announcement

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 4:59 PM EDT
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HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Community members in Harlan County are excited with the recent announcement of nearly $2 million in broadband expansion coming to the area.

“I think it’s really good for the community itself,” Hot Off The Press Employee, Kaytlin Cornett said. “Harlan’s struggles after the coal industry went downhill, I mean, this will be great for the community, it will be great for our business, and all the other businesses in Harlan.”

Several other businesses in the area are saying the current internet options available in Harlan County are just not efficient enough for running a business.

One example is Moonbow Tipple Coffee & Sweets, whose owner Sky Marietta said with the clientele she sees, good internet is a necessity.

“A lot of rural communities have lack of access to internet, and we feel that here,” she said. “We have students come in here to try to use our internet to do their schoolwork. We have businesspeople come in here to do meetings and they all need fast, highspeed internet.”

Marietta said she hopes to receive the quality of internet she currently pays for.

“We have businesses in Corbin and Williamsburg, we actually pay more for internet in Harlan than we do in other places,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know that internet costs more in a place like Harlan, than it does in a place like Lexington or Louisville, and then the speeds we get are a lot less.”

Local business leaders have said this situation makes conducting work more difficult than usual.

“There’s plenty of days where it goes off and then we have a hard time ringing up sales and people are interrupted in their workflow,” Marietta said. “So, we can see it very clearly here how necessary it is.”

Especially for employees at Hot Off The Press, who rely heavily on good internet.

“This morning I had internet problems and I had to restart the router and I had to restart our computer,” Cornett said. “That puts us back about 30 minutes on t-shirts. So, this will help us a whole lot.”

Cornett adds it was a service that revealed its necessity after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I mean a lot of people started working from home,” she said. “My mom included works from the house now and she was also having internet problems this morning. I think for the whole community and all the people working from home, that will just be so great.”

Marietta said to celebrate the good news, they plan to create an “Internet Special” for people to enjoy when the broadband expansion is underway.

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