Over the decades The Center for Rural Development has demonstrated a track record of driving technology. In fact, The Center is actively working to promote and advance high-speed high-capacity broadband throughout Southern and Eastern Kentucky. As the statewide KentuckyWired fiber middle-mile nears completion, The Center is dedicated to helping communities explore ways to become “last-mile ready.” It is important to note that Southern and Eastern Kentucky communities have this exceptional resource available to them as they explore how to prepare for the future.
Equipped with grant money from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) specifically for last-mile implementation, The Center is involved in a variety of initiatives to promote broadband including their Technology Assistance Program (TAP) to help communities begin asset mapping, perform feasibility studies, and conduct pre-engineering analysis of community fiber projects or other activities that will extend the reach of the KentuckyWired infrastructure.
Several communities have already begun working with The Center to tap into these resources. One of the first communities to do so was Pike County, who just completed a very comprehensive feasibility study project. The Center is now working with Elkhorn City on a similar project. The Pine Mountain Industrial Development Authority which includes Bell, Harlan, Knox, Letcher, and Whitley counties is also working with The Center to complete a feasibility study. Morehead and Rowan County are working with The Center to complete both a needs assessment and a feasibility study.
As more and more communities are beginning the process of becoming “fiber ready” The Center is excited to announce that they have now hired two consultants to seek out possible opportunities to advance broadband throughout The Center’s 45 county region. The consultants will work with broadband providers, state and local government officials, business and civic organizations, and other organizations within the region to collect and analyze data for possible last-mile broadband projects. The Center’s goal is to maximize the benefits of ARC funding for the communities and residents of the area.
The Center has recently worked on a new last-mile fiber installation at Slade in Powell County and is also working with the Valley Oak Technology Park in Pulaski County to expand service. With the assistance of the new consultants, The Center hopes to see even more community projects come to fruition.
Additionally, The Center can provide further assistance with broadband training opportunities, Managed Security Services, and can also assist ISPs looking to learn more about accessing the KentuckyWired middle-mile through CenterLinks Access Nodes. The Center is also championing a program to promote the use and enable the expansion of telehealth by facilitating discussions with health departments and healthcare providers within the region.
“Any of these services that you need in your community, please reach out to us. We want to make sure that we help you. We want to do everything we can to make you successful in your home communities,” said Lonnie Lawson, President & CEO of The Center.
The Center for Rural Development strives to see the region flourish as KentuckyWired’s middle-mile network provides new opportunities for communities, Fiber Boards, and local Internet Service Providers to develop last-mile plans to extend internet access to businesses and residents. The Center offers multiple resources to help improve the last-mile, or bring the last-mile to communities for the first time. More information about The Center’s Last-Mile Guide, CenterLinks Access Nodes, and Technology Assistance Program can be found at https://centertech.com/technology/kentuckywired/. The Center has additional information about local, state, and federal funds that support the initiative to bring broadband access to rural areas. As The Center works to close the digital divide, communities interested in further exploring broadband opportunities are encouraged to contact Scott Surber, Broadband Technology Liaison, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 606-677-6000.