Representatives from The Center for Rural Development and Kentucky Communications Network Authority (KCNA) shared valuable information at a recent KACo broadband training in Frankfort. Pictured left to right: Larry Combs, Broadband Implementation Manager at The Center; Randy Lutke, Communications Director at KCNA; Phillp Brown, Executive Director at KCNA; and Jim Tackett, Broadband Community Liaison at The Center.
The Center for Rural Development recently hosted a third broadband training in a series conducted for the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) Leadership Institute. County officials from across the state came together in Frankfort to learn more about KentuckyWired, and how the high-speed high-capacity fiber broadband network will provide opportunity for their communities. The KACo workshops are designed to discuss the future of broadband in Kentucky, highlighting important aspects that are relevant to elected officials. “Our partnership with KACo is extremely important in our efforts to bring broadband education to public officials,” said Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO at The Center
Larry Combs, Broadband Implementation Manager at The Center, started the Frankfort session with explanations of terms and technology that are necessary to know in order to best discuss broadband issues. He outlined how the history of transmitting information has evolved, and then displayed how Kentucky currently compares to other states in regard to internet access and speed. Combs was clear that Kentucky must “kick it up, and do something bold and daring” in order to provide a positive future for citizens.
Once that foundation was established, Phillip Brown, Executive Director of the Kentucky Communications Network Authority (KCNA), provided an update about the progress of the statewide KentuckyWired “middle-mile” fiber network. Brown explained that the state government is currently constructing over 3,000 miles of fiber optic cable in order to serve over 1,000 network sites statewide, and reach every county by 2020. Brown also explained that the fiber line will be “open access”, meaning that cities and businesses can acquire access to the network and provide “last-mile” services directly to customers.
In the final portions of the workshop, county officials gained insights into how to prepare their communities for the future. Details were provided about how to set up a local broadband board to determine how each county will tailor their own plans to make best use of access to the high-speed high capacity fiber network. Resources were presented to help communities begin feasibility studies, strategic planning, data collection, market assessments, and engineering and network designs. The session closed out with discussion about local, state, and federal funds that support the initiative to bring broadband access to rural areas.
Several officials from Lincoln County participated in the Frankfort session and expressed interest in forming a broadband board. “I believe high speed internet to all parts of our county is one of the most pressing issues facing our ability to attract and keep not only business but our best and brightest young people.” said David Gambrel, Lincoln’s Property Valuation Administrator.
The fourth and final KACo broadband workshop of this series will occur on September 6th in London, KY. All interested county officials are encouraged to attend. Communities interested in additional broadband training opportunities are also encouraged to contact The Center for Rural Development.
For more information, call 606-677-6000 or visit www.centertech.com.