What is KentuckyWired?
KentuckyWired is a statewide fiber optic network which will deliver affordable, high-capacity, high-speed broadband access to communities throughout Kentucky.
The project is based on an unprecedented partnership between The Center for Rural Development, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and private sector partners to build out the network’s middle mile. KentuckyWired through its partners will provide wholesale network capacity to local providers who can extend the last mile infrastructure to local homes and businesses. KentuckyWired will be an open access, state-owned physical fiber optic network.
The digital divide
Reliable, affordable internet access is an essential service for individuals and business alike, just like electricity, water and sewer. Kentucky has historically been at or near the bottom of national and international rankings for broadband speed and capacity. This is a disadvantage for attracting business, expanding jobs and educational attainment.
This is especially true in southern and eastern Kentucky, where the declining coal industry has negatively impacted communities. For this reason, the eastern portion of KentuckyWired, also referred to as the Kentucky I-Way, has been granted priority and will be among the first segments of the network to be completed.
The mission of The Center for Rural Development is to positively impact the communities within 45 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky. Through supporting the implementation of KentuckyWired infrastructure in southern and eastern Kentucky, The Center for Rural Development is working to close the digital divide in the communities we serve.
Who will benefit from KentuckyWired?
High speed internet access and reliable connectivity will equip businesses in southern and eastern Kentucky to compete globally and increase economic opportunities for our communities. Educators and students will have greater access to improved learning tools to further student achievement. Healthcare entities will be able to share data in real time to improve patient outcomes. First responders will be better equipped to communicate during emergencies to make our communities safer. Individuals will benefit from lower provider costs and improved accessibility for personal and business services.
- Expand economic development
- Advance educational achievement
- Improve healthcare outcomes
- Increase community safety
- Lower cost and better access
Who are the public and private partners of KentuckyWired?
The Center for Rural Development has partnered with the Commonwealth to focus on broadband implementation in communities east of I-75. This portion of KentuckyWired is referred to as the Kentucky I-Way. Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center is a member of the Kentucky Communications Network Authority (KCNA), which is the governing body of the KentuckyWired network.
Macquarie Capital was selected for this public-private partnership. Macquarie will invest significant capital in building the system and will operate it over a 30-year contract, but the state will retain ownership. Macquarie’s subcontractors include companies with a Kentucky presence, and the consortium partners have committed to hiring companies and workers based in Kentucky.
Is my community ready?
A “Fiber Ready” community supports broadband adoption in a way that will positively impact a community’s social and economic status. The Last-mile Action Team, a group formed to coordinate with KentuckyWired, existing and emerging broadband providers in the region to increase broadband access and adoption, can assist communities in becoming fiber ready.
The team is comprised of members representing existing broadband providers, non-profit economic developers, government officials, along with technical and policy experts. They can be contacted through Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) or through The Center for Rural Development.
More information about the history and progress of KentuckyWired is available at kentuckywired.ky.gov. You may also join our mailing list to receive news and information about KentuckyWired from The Center for Rural Development or contact Larry Combs, Broadband Implementation Manager for The Center, at email@example.com.