Logan County Fiscal Court, Russellville EPB apply for grant to expand high-speed internet

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 7:43 PM CDT
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RUSSELLVILLE, Ky. (WBKO) - In a meeting back in July, the Logan County Fiscal Court voted to partner with the Russellville Electric Plant Board to apply for a grant program funded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTI). “It’s a $288 million total grant,” Dale Vowell, the general manager of the Russellville Electric Plant Board, said. “I think they’re breaking it down about 18 million per state.”

Vowell went on to say that the Electric Plant Board engineered several areas in the county a few years ago and found at least 600 locations would benefit from this funding. In an effort to help boost the application, members of the community and EPB have gone door to door getting more than 300 people to sign a petition for support. They have also received several letters of support, including the one below from Haley Auctions & Realty.

High speed internet access to our clients is now more important than ever. The Logan County Fiscal Court along with...

Posted by Adam Haley on Thursday, July 29, 2021

One Logan County man who lives in the Stonewall neighborhood, which would benefit from this, said while the local internet providers do what they can, the infrastructure for high-speed internet just isn’t there. “I happen to live in one of those areas where we are outside the reach for traditional copper wire for DSL service,” Chris McGinnis said. McGinnis and his family use either broadband or cellular service to be online.

He explained that especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, he noticed how essential is it in this day and age to have good internet access. “I’ve got two school-aged children who literally, you know, had to go to their grandparents to do their schoolwork, because we didn’t have access to adequate broadband.”

It also became an issue when so many people were logged on at once either doing schoolwork or working from home. “It’s (high-speed internet) just as important as electric service and water service,” McGinnis said. “It is truly a utility now and to be able to have that would be a great advantage to my home and to my neighbors.”

Nearly all of his neighbors signed the petition of support for this grant. You can still sign it by visiting the Russellville Electric Plant Board, or drop off a written letter of support. The NTI is expected to announce who has been accepted into the grant program by the end of November.

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