Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman launched the Kentucky Broadband Speed Test, a crowdsourcing project that will gather data from Kentuckians needed to expand internet home access for distance learning, telework and telehealth.
“The more speed tests taken, the better understanding we will have of our state’s internet capabilities, and the better prepared we will be to repair and expand it,” said Gov. Beshear.
Beshear mentioned that the budget proposal he offered before the General Assembly contained $50 million dedicated to the last mile of broadband to areas in need.
This investment would be the first time state money would fund an expansion of broadband, a crucial necessity highlighted throughout the pandemic, according to the press release.
The crowd-sourcing project comes after the governor and lieutenant governor’s first dedicated $8 million in CARES Act funding to broadband expansion in August 2020, the press release stated.
Since the initial investment, the press release stated that Kentucky has reduced the number of students without internet access from 35,000 to 13,000.
The speed test marks the second step in the state’s initiative to build a better Kentucky for everyone through expanded broadband access.
Speed testing will assist in detecting slow spots around the state and where Wi-Fi access and affordability are lacking, according to the release.
“There is a digital divide in households across Kentucky, especially in rural areas, that has become even more apartment during the pandemic when so many people need it to attend school, go to work, get government services and conduct personal business from home,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said.
According to the release, the Federal Communications Commission maps internet speeds, its results are sometimes based on the results of one location within a census block, which can cover several square miles in rural parts of the state.
The Kentucky Department of Education released home internet tips in collaboration with the initiative.
Among the tips to strengthen Wi-Fi signals and internet experience, the department of energy suggests:
- Place the WiFi device away from kitchen appliances and cordless phones.
- If you have a large home or thick walls, you may need a WiFi extender.
- Place the WiFi device in the middle of your home in an elevated location away from large metal or heavy concrete surfaces.
For enhanced WiFi security, the department of education suggests:
- Use strong passwords.
- Use modern, up to date security software to protect your devices.
- Use caution opening emails and attachments from unknown senders.
- Do not connect unknown USB devices.
- Do not share passwords or account information.
- Be mindful of what you install or download.
- Use unique passwords for every account.
- Use parental controls and WiFi privacy settings.
- Remove old and unused applications.