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Halfway through 2021 yet equal access to high-speed internet dominates the debate across different counties and communities in rural Kentucky. Download speeds, orbiting satellites, middle mile, last mile, fixed wireless, line of sight, fiber optic internet—chances are that an average American will easily get lost in the weeds.

Complicated infrastructure and technical terminology aside—the underlying truth is every Kentuckian from Paducah to Pikeville deserves to have affordable high-speed internet access that supports virtual learning, allows remote working, and provides access to telehealth services.

Internet Access in Rural Kentucky

Broadband is a fundament to prosperity in rural Kentucky because it is imperative to economic development, educational opportunities, access to health care, and connections to people and services.

But unfortunately, the current situation is totally unacceptable.

According to a Common Sense Media research study, 36% of K-12 students in Kentucky lack adequate internet connectivity which puts Kentucky down as the 8th worst state in terms of student internet access. From students who must leverage cellular hotspots to submit homework to adults who are unable to take advantage of work-from-home opportunities due to inadequate broadband speeds several counties in rural Kentucky are on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Overall, Kentucky ranks #35 among the 50 states in terms of broadband coverage, with max download speeds poised at just over 30 Mbps. And, out of 120 Kentucky counties, an estimated 17.5% mostly rural are significantly lacking. For instance the Hancock County where broadband availability is limited to a little over 18%, and others like Butler, Lyon, Washington, Nicholas, and Hickman where coverage falls below 50%.

While in urbanized areas and most urban clusters the situation is not as alarming, for rural Kentuckians, traditional DSL, fixed wireless or satellite internet are the only options. But, with wired providers like AT&T working to extend broadband services to rural communities one can hope the digital divide may narrow down throughout the Bluegrass State in the near future.

AT&T in Rural Kentucky

AT&T—through its participation in the FCC Connect America Fund—has ensured provision of high-speed internet to more than 67,000 homes and businesses in rural areas of 60 Kentucky counties.

With AT&T’s fixed-wireless connection, rural Kentuckians can get download speeds up to 25 Mbps but delivered speeds vary depending on the geography of the area, and so AT&T does not pledge speeds higher than 10 Mbps after all the Fixed Wireless signal comes all the way from a wireless tower to the fixed antenna mounted at the subscriber’s end making it susceptible to quite a few external factors. Also, the Fixed Wireless service is available only in rural areas which are outside the reach of traditional wireline AT&T Internet service.

For rural communities which are able to access wired internet from AT&T traditional DSL is a pretty decent option. Depending on AT&T’s network capabilities in the area, and how far you are located from the AT&T hub, you can get download speeds ranging from 768 Kbps to 100 Mbps. And, if you are able to subscribe to plans above 12 Mbps, you can also take advantage of AT&T’s advanced wireless Gateway which provides a seamless way of connecting for work and play.

As far as AT&T speeds are concerned, largely speaking rural communities do get slower speeds than what’s available to urban Kentuckians. But keeping in view the internet landscape in rural Kentucky, AT&T is suitable for limited, but necessary usage. 

To check AT&T Internet offer availability at your address, call 1-855-925-2541.   

AT&T Fixed Wireless Availability in Rural Kentucky

At present, internet from AT&T is delivering services in the following 60 counties in rural Kentucky.

Anderson

Bell

Carroll 

Daviess

Boyle

Bourbon          

Christian

Floyd

Breathitt

Breckinridge

Clark   

Johnson

Butler

Calloway

Crittenden       

Lincoln

Caldwell

Fulton

Franklin

Logan

Graves

Hardin

Henderson

Nicholas

Hancock

Harrison

Henry

Ohio

Harlan

Lee

Hickman

Oldham           

Knox

Marshall

Hopkins

Scott

Lyon

Mason 

Livingston

Shelby

Madison          

McLean

Mercer 

Union

Martin

Pike

Montgomery

Warren

Owen

Simpson

Muhlenberg

Washington

Powell

Spencer

Nelson 

Webster

Trigg

Todd

Trimble

Whitley

 

HughesNet in Rural Kentucky

From among satellite internet providers in rural Kentucky, we recommend HughesNet because of the excellent quality of service. The provider connects rural Kentuckians through Gen5 advanced satellite internet technology and is inarguably one of the most reliable choices when there is no feasible wired option available. Plus, HughesNet has earned respect and admiration for delivering average speeds that were 150% or higher than the advertised speeds.

HughesNet Gen 5 plans come with data caps, and after reaching your monthly data limit, you suffer slower speeds unless you purchase additional data. But there’s a twist—each HughesNet plan offers you FREE 50 GB data every month on top of your allocated allowance—you can utilize this bonus data during off-peak hours from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. You just have to play wisely, use the Download Manager to schedule downloads during the Bonus Zone and you are likely to save yourself from purchasing additional data tokens.

Let’s have a look at what HughesNet offers to customers in rural Kentucky. For more details regarding service offerings call at 1-855-349-9309.

HughesNet Internet Plans

Price

Max Upload Speed

Max Download Speed

10 GB

$59.99/mo.

3 Mbps

25 Mbps

20 GB

$69.99/mo.

3 Mbps

25 Mbps

30 GB

$99.99/mo.

3 Mbps

25 Mbps

50 GB

$149.99/mo.

3 Mbps

25 Mbps

 

What’s the Solution for Broadband Connectivity in Rural Kentucky?

To leap the digital chasm in Kentucky to an extent, the mapping is a top essential. For smart policy decisions and proper investment strategies, an accurate broadband baseline is a must. This information is pretty useful for last-mile connections.

The next important thing is planning—to ensure every dollar dedicated to the expansion of internet services is fully utilized for the allotted purpose. Rural areas in Kentucky must be given a proper planning strategy to manage public investments, establish accountability, and make sure people most in need reap the benefits.

Public investment combined with partnerships, ingenuity, and innovation in communities across Kentucky may serve to break down existing and potential obstacles standing in the way of broadband accessibility in rural Kentucky.

Finally, even with internet access available, affordability is a prevailing issue that must be addressed. Facts and figures for both urban and rural areas prove that low-income households struggle to pay monthly high-speed internet bills. Everyone—local, state, and federal officials—need to work in partnership with internet service providers to find ingenious solutions to deliver adequate service in rural Kentucky at affordable rates.

There is no denying the task at hand is huge, and certainly not as easy as devising solutions and strategies may make it sound. But there’s no other option. Rural Kentucky must be helped with moving forward into future by allowing communities a fair share of local, state and federal resources, and mending the digital divide.

Bottom Line

If you are a resident of rural Kentucky, chances are you are already well aware of the struggles involved in choosing the right rural internet option—given the availability factor. But now that you are well equipped with the necessary information about internet access in rural Kentucky, enter your Zip Code here and check the providers and services available in your area.

Or speak to a rural internet expert at 1-855-349-9328. They will guide you about the fastest speeds and connections available at your address and help you in choosing a suitable plan based on your needs and budget. 

FAQs

Does rural Kentucky have fiber internet?

Sadly no, rural Kentucky’s thick forests and steep hills make it extremely difficult and expensive to deploy fiber optic cables in the region. If you are looking for quality services from reliable internet providers, we would suggest you go either for satellite internet from HughesNet or wireline/fixed wireless internet from AT&T, if available.

What are the disadvantages of satellite internet in rural Kentucky?

For rural Kentuckians, beaming internet from satellites can be costly. Also speed is not that fast and satellite internet comes with latency issues by default. Plus, satellite internet providers tend to impose data limits if exceeded, your internet speed is throttled.

Which city in Kentucky has the slowest internet speeds?

Well, Hyden in Leslie County carries the stigma of offering the slowest average internet speed—4.2 Mbps.