KentuckyWired update given in Lewis County

Jonathan Wright - [email protected]

VANCEBURG —Donovan McClure, a representative from the KentuckyWired program, visited Lewis County Fiscal Court Monday afternoon to give an update on the program which promises to supply Kentucky with high speed internet service.

According to its website, KentuckyWired is a state-run project constructing more than 3,000 miles of high-speed, high-capacity fiber optic cable in every county in Kentucky. The KentuckyWired network is a “middle mile” project connecting government offices, universities, community colleges, state police posts, state parks, and other government institutions to the global internet.

McClure began his update by going over what the program aims to achieve as well as some of the changes the program has undergone over the years. Examples of the type of fiber optic cable that the project will be using were also shown to the court.

“We are running over 3,400 miles of high speed internet service on existing telephone poles and underground,” McClure said. “Now, this project was originally estimated at 85 percent of the project would be using existing telephone poles with around 15 percent of the project being ran underground. Due to some cost saving mechanisms and strategic planning, that has been changed to around 90 percent aerial on existing telephone poles and around 10 percent underground.”

After the project is complete, McClure said Kentucky will be number one in the United States for high speed internet services.

According to McClure, now that the most recent portion of the project has been completed, the next region to be worked on is eastern Kentucky which will include Lewis and other surrounding counties.

“What you can expect here in Lewis County, in the next couple of weeks, is a larger presence of construction crews,” McClure said.

At the end of the update, McClure asked the court and any other leaders of the community to notify the public of the impending projects, so confusion as to why there are construction crews in the area is minimal.

Lewis County Judge-Executive Todd Ruckel, after hearing the update, spoke briefly about the county’s own efforts in attempting to provide high speed internet to the community.

Earlier this year, Lewis County was awarded a $76,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to conduct a feasibility study strategic development plan to improve broadband internet across the county.

The end goal of the county’s project is to ensure better broadband internet to encourage economic development.

“(KentuckyWired) is doing the ‘middle mile,’ what we’re hoping to do is that ‘last mile,’” Ruckel said. “(McClure) mentioned their’s is going to the government buildings, public libraries and the schools; well we’re hoping to get it out to our industrial parks, businesses and even residential. The feasibility study is going to tell us how we do that, if it’s feasible, what we need, if it can be done wirelessly or if it has to be wired. Hopefully, we’re going to come in and be able to tap into KentuckyWired to be able to do that.”

In other business:

— The court approved the proposal by the broadband committee to have Connected Nation conduct the feasibility study for broadband connection in Lewis County. Among the members of the broadband committee are Ruckel, Lewis County Attorney Ben Harrison and Dennis Brown.

— Jenny Applegate was appointed by the court to serve on the Black Oak Fire Department tax board. Applegate’s term will expire on June 30, 2023.

Jonathan Wright

[email protected]