‘Broadband is no longer a luxury, it’s life or death’ Lt. Gov Coleman joins other officials to announce needed funding

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 2:59 PM EDT
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GRAY, Ky. (WYMT) - Just weeks after the SOAR Summit took place just down the road in Corbin, state and local leaders gathered in Knox County to announce funding for a hot topic at the meeting: Broadband expansion.

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, Department for Local Government Commissioner Dennis Keene, Deputy District Director Carlos Cameron from Congressman Hal Rogers office and Colby Hall, the Executive Director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) joined officials from Cumberland Valley Electric for the announcement at their headquarters in Gray.

The grant is worth $50,000 and is dedicated to welcoming the state’s electric co-operatives into the state’s last mile of high-speed internet expansion efforts.

The announcement is part of the first step for utility companies like Cumberland Valley RECC to be able to co-op with the state and other agencies to help make broadband a mainstay in many homes across the mountains.

“Functional internet is as important as electricity in 2021,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “Today’s announcement places a deserved greater value in providing every single Kentuckian with fast, reliable internet and building an economy of the future.”

“Broadband is a utility now. It’s not just something we dream of, it’s something we have to have,” Keene said.

“This is huge for Eastern Kentucky,” said Colby Hall, executive director of SOAR. “The electric cooperatives have decades of experience serving customers in rural areas.”

Cumberland Valley RECC is the first company to go public to support the deal.

WYMT’s Jayde Saylor will have more on this story tonight on WYMT.

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