Lexington, KY – U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) secured major federal investments for the expansion of rural broadband connectivity. Over $7 billion for rural broadband initiatives were included as part of the COVID-19 relief bill signed by President Donald Trump on Sunday evening. This includes $300 million for the construction of rural broadband connectivity and $250 million for expanding telehealth services.

“I have worked diligently to enhance internet connectivity for rural communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when many Kentuckians are working or learning remotely,” said Congressman Barr. “Additionally, by expanding telehealth services we embrace technology as a powerful weapon in limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Together, these investments will provide a huge boost to Central and Eastern Kentucky as we fight to defeat the COVID-19 virus and deliver widespread and reliable broadband access for all.”

In April, Congressman Barr led the effort to persuade the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services to expand coverage of telehealth services to include same-location services. This helped conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and cut down on exposure for frontline doctors, nurses and healthcare workers to possible COVID-19 positive patients.

Furthermore, Congressman Barr introduced H.R. 8368, the Rural Broadband Expansion Act of 2020. The proposal provides local governments the flexibility to use funding from the Coronavirus, Aid, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES) Act to develop rural broadband infrastructure in their communities.