LARUE COUNTY, Ky. — Thousands of Kentuckians don't have internet access, but one LaRue County man and his crew are working to change that one home at a time.
Cameron Lasley and his tight-knit crew of workers, put on hard hats, gloves, harnesses and other safety equipment in preparation of working about 100 feet in the air.
"Back when the pandemic started in early 2020, we realized people were going to start working from home more and we realized there were a lot of rural areas that didn't have any good sources of internet,” Lasley said.
It’s why he founded Telecast Communications; he uses grain and water towers as access points to give about 300 people high-speed internet.
Homes in sight of any of the 14 towers in the county can gain access to the internet by placing a router on the home, which connects to the tower.
Judge Executive Blake Durrett said the service covers the hardest-to-reach parts of the county, which includes homes in rural areas like his that don't get access to reliable internet.
"We feel like we're part of the 21st century now,” Durrett said.
Streaming and working from home were things Durrett said his family wasn't able to do before.
He remembers when Lasley came to him with the idea to build his own network.
"I gave him a challenge,” Durrett recalled. “I said, if you can give me internet, we can make some good things happen."
Lasley not only accepted the challenge, but in just two years, Durrett said the northern part of the county, which was about 70% underserved, is now at about 30%.
Durrett was able to connect Lasley with city and county officials who allowed him to expand his service by using their water towers.
Plus, Durrett said all of this is has been possible without using federal money given to the county to create more broadband; he said that they were given $2.7 million, but that’s only a drop in the bucket of what it would have cost to give homes in rural areas underground fiber-optic service.
"It's just exciting to know that we can pull back some of those limitations and let people live and work and play in their county the way that they want to,” Durrett said.
It's a mission that hits home for Lasley, the Hodgenville-native.
“I've always been involved in my community, so I saw this as another opportunity to be involved and help some of my neighbors in the rural parts,” he said.
And Lasley has no end in sight; another tower is planned to be up and running near the end of August, which will give internet access to more than 40 homes.