A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Governor signs legislation that will result in creation of more than 14,500 jobs across Commonwealth

Gov. Andy Beshear joined legislative leaders from both parties on Wednesday to sign bipartisan legislation appropriating funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to create jobs, build better schools, expand broadband and invest in infrastructure, including clean drinking water. The Governor also signed House Bill 574, which expands voting opportunities in Kentucky. “While points of friction...

This Week at the Capitol: Budget approved (protects road fund) and a roundup of some other legislation

The biggest issue of the General Assembly’s 2021 session advanced this week as the Senate and House approved a budget to guide spending in the upcoming fiscal year. The recent work on a one-year budget was unusual because lawmakers normally craft budgets that cover two-year cycles. But with the pandemic spreading at the time budget negotiations were occurring last year, lawmakers decided to limit...

As lawmakers prioritize broadband services, some communities wonder when it will reach them

By Liam Niemeyer Ohio Valley Resource As Barkley Hughes and I rumbled around in his red utility vehicle last month, memories slowly unwound about his western Kentucky hometown. Tolu, a historic Ohio River-bound community of less than a hundred, only makes up a few blocks before opening up into rolling farmland. Hughes openly admits it’s not near anywhere, but that’s part of the reason he came...

Beshear reports 331 cases, 10 deaths, low positivity; 834,130 Kyians have first dose of vaccine

Gov. Beshear announced 834,130 Kentuckians – 25% of Kentucky adults – have now received at least one dose of one of three highly effective COVID-19 vaccines. Gov. Beshear also announced Kentucky has now seen eight straight weeks of declining COVID-19 cases. Today’s COVID-19 report includes the lowest number of new cases since Sept. 14. Gov. Beshear He reported 331 new cases and 10 deaths and...

This Week at the Capitol: A roundup of the bills that moved forward in the General Assembly

The list of issues receiving consideration from state lawmakers continued growing this week as workdays lengthened and an increased number of bills advanced through the legislative process. Bills that took steps forward in the General Assembly this week include measures on the following topics: School breakfasts. House Bill 384 would allow a school that participates in the Federal School Breakfast...

Beshear reports 963 cases, 37 deaths, opens 28 more vaccine sites, opens long-term care sites to visitors

Governor Andy Beshear announced the state is opening an additional 28 vaccination sites, for a total of 291 sites across the Commonwealth. “There is now a provider that has vaccine close to where everybody lives in the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear. “There are some areas where you might have to drive just a little bit further, but we continue to add new sites for greater convenience. In many...

Commentary: Every Kyian needs access to high-speed internet for school, work at home, telehealth

By Brigitte Blom Ramsey and Colby Hall Special to KyForward 2021 is off and to the races, and already one topic is still dominating debate across our communities, state, and nation: access to high-speed internet. Upload speeds, middle mile, fiber, last mile, low earth orbiting satellites … for the average person, it is easy to get lost in the weeds. Technical terminology and complicated diagrams...

Beshear reports 1,268 cases, 39 deaths, declining positivity rate; to announce vaccine info on Thursday

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Kentucky’s COVID-19 positivity rate has fallen below 10% for the first time since Dec. 31. Monday’s new case report was also the lowest for a Monday since Jan. 4. He reported 1,268 cases and 39 deaths and a positivity rate of 9.93%. Fayette County reported 149 cases. “Our cases are way too high, but I think when you look at this it shows how important the steps...

Telecommunications assistance will easier to obtain for eligible veterans, survivors, PSC says

It will soon be easier for veterans and their survivors who receive pension benefits to obtain subsidized telephone or broadband service. As a result of major changes coming in December to the Lifeline program, low-income veterans or their survivors receiving pension benefits will have automatic proof of eligibility for the Lifeline program, according to the state Public Service Commission. “The...

KCTCS approves new associate science degree program in broadband technology

he Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) Board of Regents approved a new Associate of Applied Science in Broadband Technology at Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) during its quarterly meeting. The program is an instrumental initiative designed to improve the economy in the southeastern region of the state that is part of both the KentuckyWired and Shaping Our Appalachian...

Center for Rural Development leading the efforts on broadband expansion in Eastern Kentucky

The Center for Rural Development—a regional leader in technology—is leading the efforts to bring reliable, high-speed Internet to Eastern Kentucky. U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of the Center, and other area leaders met with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler on a recent trip to McKee and Hazard in Eastern Kentucky to discuss...

Rural Blog: Amid talk of broadband, a senator says rural landline calls still getting dropped

Special to KyForward   While the Federal Communications Commission held its Rural Broadband Workshop last week to look at ways to improve broadband access in rural America, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) said some rural residents across the country are still dealing with a problem that should have been fixed years ago: completing a basic landline call, Peter Harriman reports for the Sioux Falls Argus...

It’s life in the slow lane for many Kentuckians on the Information Highway, UK study shows

By Michael Childress Special to KyForward   Only a handful of Kentucky counties, representing about one-half of the state’s population, are nationally competitive with respect to high-speed Internet infrastructure and utilization, according to research and analysis conducted at the University of Kentucky.   The College of Communication and Information and the Gatton College of Business...

Daily Yonder: High broadbrand adoption in rural areas contributes to economic success

This story exploring the relationship between broadband and the rural economy is one of a series written by three researchers noted for their work in rural development, economics and communications policy. Previous articles looked at trends in broadband adoption and broadband availability.   Much has been made about the potential benefits of broadband for rural communities. There are plenty of...

Daily Yonder: Federal report shows rural broadband access still lags behind cities

By Tim Marema Special to KyForward   The nation’s most rural communities have broadband availability rates that are a third lower than the rates of big cities and suburbs, a federal report shows.   But within these broad findings, there are important variations in broadband access among U.S. cities, suburbs, towns and very rural areas.   The report, by the National Telecommunications...