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Kentucky Lawmakers Briefed on Boot Up of Broadband Expansion

Tmthetom, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

  The beginning stages of a plan to bring high-speed, reliable internet access to homes and businesses is underway in Kentucky. 

The General Assembly this year approved $300 million for a "last mile" broadband expansion project that focuses on under-served areas of the state

State Budget Director John Hicks gave an update this week to the legislature’s Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue. He said a Request for Information, or RFI, will be issued in a couple of weeks.

“It’s purpose is to ask the providers and municipalities, and other government agencies their ideas, comments and their suggestions," Hicks said. "We don’t know what we don’t know, and so we want to avail ourselves of their expertise before we finalize our process.”

Hicks emphasized this plan is different from Kentucky Wired, an effort launched in 2015 to create a statewide broadband network. That project, which began under former Governor Steve Beshear, has been mired in delays and cost over-runs.

Hicks said neither Kentucky Wired or any of its subsidiaries would be involved in this different project.  The program, however, has enlisted the expertise of one Kentucky Wired employee. 

There’s currently no timeline for completing the broadband project.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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