Frankfort, KY – The Breathitt, Estill, Lee, and Powell (BELP) Regional Technology Authority (RTA) and ALTIUS Broadband are excited to announce the completion of the grant-funded phase of a fixed wireless network to bring broadband to more residents of Breathitt, Estill, Lee, and Powell (BELP) counties.
The final grant-funded phase of the four county fixed wireless network was recently completed in Breathitt County with the successful build out of five towers, and already more than 100 regional households have taken advantage of the new service availability.
This broadband expansion project for the four BELP counties began in November 2009. In late 2010, the RTA selected ALTIUS Broadband to build out a broadband network in the rural areas of the four counties unserved and underserved by high-speed broadband. ConnectKentucky has provided technical assistance throughout the project.
“Quality infrastructure is a necessary foundation for any community to have substantial economic growth,” said Department for Local Government Commissioner Tony Wilder. “This broadband development project will benefit residents and businesses throughout the BELP region by providing them with access to twenty-first century communication. Thank you to all of the federal, state, and local partners who helped bring this significant development project to fruition.”
“ConnectKentucky is grateful to have worked as technical consultant for the ConnectBELP project,” said ConnectKentucky Executive Director René True. “A consortium of partners ensured a successful completion of the initial grant phase of the project, including the County Judge Executives in Breathitt, Estill, Lee, and Powell counties, the Department for Local Government, the USDA Rural Development, the BELP Regional Technology Authority Board, and ALTIUS Broadband. The team effort resulted in the expansion of broadband technologies in the rural parts of four geographically challenged counties, unserved by more traditional broadband networks. Now thousands of residents can gain access to the life changing benefits afforded by broadband.”
Hilly topography and widely dispersed populations are a challenge for broadband connectivity across the country. The RTA, ALTIUS Broadband, and ConnectKentucky are exploring all options to bridge the broadband gaps in the BELP communities.
“As we predicted, The BELP project was a major milestone for a fixed wireless microwave network in this country,” said Jim Connor, president of ALTIUS Broadband. “Our partnership with BELP Regional Technology Authority and ConnectKentucky will serve as a model for communities throughout the United States on expanding broadband services in some of the most remote areas to ensure their connectivity and bridge the digital divide. Without this type of partnership these projects would be impossible and the thousands of people that live in these areas would be left at huge competitive disadvantage.”
The Breathitt County broadband equipment installation marks the completion of the initial project funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission and coal severance tax grants secured in cooperation with the Kentucky Department for Local Government. Work by ALTUIS Broadband will continue as opportunities to install equipment on other communication towers become available and demand for broadband service is demonstrated.
“We continue work in communities across the Commonwealth to bring the life-changing benefits of broadband to as many Kentucky businesses and residents as possible,” said True.