Community leaders and elected officials from Southern and Eastern Kentucky attended the second “Broadband and Your Community Workshop 102: A Closer Look” on August 31st at the Morehead Conference Center in Morehead, KY. The workshop was sponsored by The Center for Rural Development through an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant.
The event featured leaders from the industry who made the case that meeting the growing demand for high-speed, high-capacity broadband connectivity is vital for community development, both now and in the very near future.
“Since 1980 the amount of speeds we need at our home has doubled every three years,” said Doug Dawson, President of CCG Consulting and keynote speaker at the workshop. “If you’re going to build a network today, you better be planning for at least 10 years from now, and that means you better be looking at eight times more data than what you think people need today.”
The workshop series is designed to help local leaders understand how they can leverage KentuckyWired in their community. The KentuckyWired project will bring more than 3,000 miles of affordable, high-speed, high-capacity fiber infrastructure to all 120 Kentucky counties. The 288-strand fiber optics cable, with nearly unlimited capacity, is aiming to expand economic development, advance educational achievement, improve healthcare outcomes, and increase community safety.
KentuckyWired constitutes progress towards fulfillment of U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers’ (KY-05) vision of Eastern Kentucky as “Silicon Holler.” 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.
“Building a middle-mile fiber network to increase accessibility is just one aspect of the project we have undertaken with the Commonwealth of Kentucky.” said Larry Combs, Broadband Implementation Manager for The Center. “These educational workshops are designed to help our communities prepare for the opportunities that having the access will enable. The Center and the SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Communities) last-mile Action Team are providing a forum where government leaders, telecommunication experts and ‘digital life’ professionals are brought together to educate, answer questions and provide guidance.”
Other speakers and panelist at the workshop included Tom Asp, Principal Engineer/Business Analyst, CTC Technology and Energy; Terry Barnes, Project Manager/Business Consultant, The Solarity Group; Kevin Loux, Director of Strategic Partnerships, SOAR; Nancy Ward, Partner/PMP, The Solarity Group; Stephen Baker, PE/Superintendent, London Utilities Commission; Albey Brock, Bell County Judge Executive; Tim Gibbs, CEO/President, Ashland Alliance; Mike Hayden, COO, Kentucky Communications Network Authority (KCNA); and Hilda Legg, consultant, Legg Strategies.
The next workshop will be held on November 14 at 10 a.m. at the First Federal Center on Hazard Community & Technical College campus in Hazard, KY. Those who participated in the first two workshops or who are interested in learning more about KentuckyWired are encouraged to attend. Information and registration will be distributed as soon as it is available.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.