Grant money expected to bring internet access to rural areas


Reporter- Briana Conner
Photographer- Mason Watkins

LYON COUNTY, Ky.- Pockets of people living in rural areas of our community say it's time to get connected. "You need information out here," said Mary Farmer. She is the office manager at Holiday Hills Resort in Lyon County where broadband internet access isn't available.

19 million Americans don't have the option to buy the service according to the FCC. This comes at a time when logging on is no longer seen as a luxury, but a necessity. That's why community leaders in Lyon and Caldwell counties are pulling together to get the entire community connected.   

The process started back in January of 2011 when Judge White started looking at different ways to bring broadband internet to rural areas in western Kentucky. He then applied for a grant with The Delta Regional Authority to pay for the work, and it was approved last October for $155,000. The bid process just wrapped up, and now White says people could start getting online in a matter of weeks.

The staff at Holiday Hills Resort in Lyon County can offer a lot of accommodations, but one thing their campers cant get is a wireless signal. "It's terrible," said Farmer. She added, "In this day and age, people expect the internet. They expect to be able to go on vacation and still be able to use it."

There are only two computers on site where people can connect. Farmer said, "It's just so inconvenient for them to have to walk up to the office in the heat or the rain or whatever it may be." It's an inconvenience that will soon be a thing of the past. "It's taken three years to finally see results, but I think it's gonna be worth it," said Judge White.

There's a $310,000 investment going into the two western Kentucky communities to get them connected. "It's only just a matter of weeks now that people may be able to start getting service. Others, it may take a bit more time as they move through out the county in different phases to set this up," said White.

It's a process White said he's pride of, and one Farmer said she can't wait for. "It would be wonderful, just marvelous," she said.

Fast Net is the name of the company that won the bid to do the work. Part of the deal is that they match the amount of money in the grant. That $310,000 total will pay for the entire project and be split up between the two counties.

If you aren't able to get internet service where you live in Caldwell or Lyon counties, call 855-889-FAST. They'll take your name and address and let you know when work will begin in your area.