The Blue Grass State is the 41st most connected state and is home to 126 broadband providers.
There are 143,000 people in Kentucky with no access to broadband. No cable. No DSL. No fixed wireless. No mobile internet. Nothing.
Of the 4.4 million Kentuckians, 506,000 have access to only one wired provider. Of course, that means ISP (internet service provider) can old them hostage, raise rates, or alter the terms and conditions of their contract. Because those people have no competitive options). 186,000 are very frustrated by the fact that they are forced to cope with low data caps because fixed wireless or mobile broadband are their only sources of internet service.
The state also has some very unfortunate poverty statistics. The overall rate is 18.8%. The child poverty rate is 27%. The senior poverty rate is 14.0%. And the extreme poverty rate is 8.0%. Far too high, Kentucky, far too high.
But fear not, because CheapInternet.com knows a number of ways you can get high-speed broadband internet access at prices far cheaper than you ever imagined possible.
Low-Income Internet Options
Here is the internet’s most complete list of companies and organizations that offer low-income Americans low-cost, high-speed internet access. And when we say low-cost, we’re talking about plans whose prices range from free to $14.95 per month for broadband internet. Different companies offer different prices, different types of Internet (i.e., cable, DSL or mobile), and different ways to qualify, so check them all out to see which low-income program is right for you. Click on any of the programs below to see full details on what they offer.
- Spectrum Internet Assist
- Access from AT&T
- Comcast’s Internet Essentials
- PC’s for People
- Coming soon: Lifeline Broadband
Other Low-Cost Internet Options
What if you want to sign up for a cheap internet plan, but don’t qualify under the rules of the plans shown above? Or what if none of those plans are offered in your area? Luck may still be on your side, because there are other low-cost plans available for you if you know where to look. And at CheapInternet.com, we know where to look. Here’s a brief review of other low-cost options that may be available in your area.
- 4G Community
- FreedomPop Mobile Internet
- FreedomPop Home Internet
- NetZero DSL
- NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband
Lifeline Broadband Pilot Programs
The Lifeline Assistance program, which offers free government cell phones to low-income Americans, has helped millions of needy Americans. The program has been so successful that the Federal Communications Commission decided to investigate the possibility of creating a similar program called Lifeline Internet or Lifeline Broadband.
Fourteen cable companies and service organizations were selected by the FCC to test pilot programs in various regions around the country. The pilot programs looked into the impact of various pricing plans, discounts, and equipment.
We expect the FCC to announce the results of the pilot programs and perhaps even announce the introduction of an official Lifeline Broadband (or Lifeline Internet) program before the end of 2014. Although you can no longer sign up nor participate in these programs, you may be interested in seeing what the future of free internet may look like in your state.
Unfortunately, none of the Federal Communication Commission’s Lifeline Broadband Pilot Programs were conducted in Kentucky.
Municipal Broadband Networks
Wikipedia defines a Municipal Broadband Network (often called Community Broadband Network) like this: “Municipal broadband deployments are broadband Internet access services provided either fully or partially by local governments. Common connection technologies include unlicensed wireless (Wi-Fi, wireless mesh networks), licensed wireless (such as WiMAX), and fiber-optic. Although many cities previously deployed Wi-Fi based solutions, municipal fiber-to-the-home networks are becoming more prominent because of increased demand for modern audio and video applications.”
Here are the municipal broadband network providers in Kentucky:
Provider Barbourville Utility Commission
Services Offered: Data, Video
Area Served: Barbourville
Barbourville Utilities offers high-speed Internet access to both homes and businesses in the Barbourville and Knox County.
Provider: Frankfort Plant Board
Services Offered: Data, Video, Voice
Area Served: Frankfort
FPB is unique to most municipal utility companies because it offers cable television along with business and residential services in security, broadband, and telephone all with local customer service and support. 21,000 Kentuckians are currently hooked up to the network.
Provider: HES EnergyNet
Services Offered: Data
Area Served: Hopkinsville
EnergyNet offers a high-speed fiber optic network for business in the Frankfort, Kentucky area, but has not yet offering similar residential service. The best residents can get is 8 Meg wireless, but each account also gets free access to EnergyNet Mobile, EnergyNet’s citywide wifi service.
Provider: Murray Electric System
Services Offered: Voice, Data, Video
Area Served: Murray
The community-owned fiber optic network in Western Kentucky, just south of Paducah, offers high-speed internet service to businesses and residences in the Murray area.
Provider: Russelville Electric Plant Board
Services Offered: Data, Video, Voice, Smart Grid
Area Served: Russelville
The Russelville Electric Plant Board began providing wireless Internet service to the greater Russellville area in 2006 and expanded its broadband services to video, telephone and high-speed data service in 2011. It currently serves approximately 4,300 electric customers and more than 1,400 broadband customers.
Provider: Williamstown Cable & Broadband
Services Offered: Data, Video, Voice
Area Served: Williamstown (serves Corinth and parts of Grant and Owen Counties)
Williamstown, located almost directly south of Cincinnati, proudly says, “Williamstown Broadband offers the Fastest Speeds in Kentucky!” Residents outside of the regular fiber optic high-speed Internet service area (Williamstown, Corinth, Mason and New Columbus) are eligible for the company’s Skywire high-speed internet service.