Just before the Christmas break, Kentucky got some interesting bandwidth news. As a state that gets far less fiber attention from the industry as a whole than most, it’s a natural for some sort of government supported infrastructure buildout. And indeed, Democratic governor Steve Beshear and Republican representative Hal Rogers have now announced a public/private partnership to build a statewide network.
Kentucky is working with Macquarie Capital, the Australian firm that is also heavily involved out in Utah’s ongoing Utopia project. There are also another four companies involved: First Solutions, Fujitsu, Black & Veatch, and Bowlin Group. If it all comes together, they plan to build out more than 3,000 route miles of open-access, middle-mile fiber across the state.
They’ll be starting with a core route along I-75 and moving onto the heavily underserved eastern part of the state first. Some of the $250-350M cost to be supported by $30M in state bonds and $15-20M in federal grants. They’ll be hooking up those anchor institutions first of course, but hope that others will start filling in the gap to enterprises using the infrastructure before long.
Will it work? Well it certainly can’t hurt. According to the announcement, only half of households in Kentucky use broadband at this point, and a quarter couldn’t if they wanted to.
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