Lawmakers received an update on the state’s effort to provide 3,000 miles of high speed internet service to all counties. Officials with KentuckyWired testified before a House Budget Subcommittee Thursday.
Personnel, Public Retirement, and Finance Subcommittee Chair Myron Dossett expressed concern about how the state project might impact existing last mile internet providers. “But I know that those entities are making that investment and I want to be cautious not to harm them. They’re using their dollars right now, working those final miles,” said Dossett.
Kentucky Communications Network Authority Director Jamie Link said he sees KentuckyWired enhancing opportunities for local providers with a faster service. Link added current projections show the project about 87% complete with the broadband backbone. He equated it to being on the ten yard line pushing toward the goal line.
There were questions raised about how long state funding will be required to support KentuckyWired. Link told the panel the projections currently point to 2026. “The goal obviously is that by providing the services and charging state agencies and the last mile customers that the revenues will hopefully offset either all or a good portion of the network costs to construct,” explained Link.
Link said the governor’s budget recommendation includes about $93 million over the biennium to further the KentuckyWired program.
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