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Representative from The Center for Rural Development, in partnership with the Kentucky Office of Broadband Development, recently met with county officials, community leaders, and business owners to listen and give an update on broadband efforts in Harlan County and throughout the region.

“The Center is at the forefront of promoting and advancing broadband access and affordability throughout Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” said Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center. “Our goal is to provide reliable and affordable internet access to all residents and businesses, empowering economic growth, enhancing education, and improving overall quality of life.”

More than 25 people attended the meeting and received a progress report on what The Center and the Kentucky Office of Broadband Development are doing to expand and improve broadband access in Harlan County and throughout the region.

The meeting, the second in a series of planned regional broadband informational/listening sessions within The Center’s 45-county primary service area, was held on Feb. 23 at the Green Hill Senior Center in Bledsoe, KY.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley opened the program and expressed his appreciation to The Center for its efforts to provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas in rural Kentucky.

Among the broadband projects underway or planned for Harlan County include:

  • Move the Needle Broadband CloverLick Project: In January, The Center presented $80,000 in grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Kentucky Department for Local Government to Harlan County Fiscal Court to improve broadband connectivity to as many as 125 households in the Cloverlick community. The project will include the installation of fiber optic cable along an approximately six-mile stretch of roadway. Work is expected to begin soon.
  • Pilot Test County for The Center’s Speed Test Efforts – Harlan County was selected as the pilot test county for the speed test. Data collected from the speed test will be used to help identify internet speed service gaps and to create a map that will assist Kentucky communities in their efforts to secure grants and other support to improve broadband services. Visit to take the speed test. It’s free, anonymous, and can be completed in about one minute.

  • Pilot Project for Broadband as a Service (BaaS) – Harlan County will serve as a pilot project for BaaS, an initiative by The Center and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The program will assist local and regional government leaders, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), fiber boards, and community organizations in understanding how this model can help bring broadband to unserved and underserved areas in The Center’s 45-county primary service area.

At the Harlan County broadband meeting, Meghan Sandfoss, director of the Kentucky Office of Broadband Development, shared information about the BEAD (Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment) Program. The state of Kentucky has been awarded $1.1 billion in funding from the federal government through this program to help close the digital divide and provide access to broadband to unserved and underserved broadband serviceable locations.

Representing The Center were Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO; Richard Taylor, Executive Vice President; Scott Surber, Broadband Technology Liaison; and Zach Ausmus, Broadband Project Manager.

For more information about how The Center can help with feasibility studies, planning, and connectivity solutions for broadband expansion projects in your community, visit, contact Scott Suber at 606-677-6000, or email