HAZARD — The KentuckyWired project, officials said recently, hopes to be offering some services by the fall.

During the Broadband and Barbecue event held at Hazard Community and Technical College on June 6, several entities across the region and state gathered to discuss the importance of having reliable broadband networks in rural areas.

The event, which was presented by SOAR and The Center for Rural Development, hosted panels that focused on the economic uses of broadband and rural strategies for access to broadband. KentuckyWired gave an update of their progress during the event and say they hope to be complete with the middle mile in south central Kentucky by fall of this year.  

Chief Operating Officer Mike Hayden and Executive Director Deck Deckard presented the update on KentuckyWired during the event and said that, at its completion KentuckyWired will be a system of fiber optic cable that will allow broadband services to be more available to rural areas.

“1B, which is basically the south central area of Kentucky, is complete and ready to build for all the services,” said Hayden. “We look to have 1B up in the early fall timeline of this year.”

Hayden said that the KentucyWired project has been an effort by several entities in the state.

“We’ve got 72 agreements with various utilities, be it the metro governments as well as the power companies and telephones,” said Hayden. “Those have all been in place. All of them require a significant amount of work on their side.”

Hayden said that the different utility companies have been hard at work on the project and that one of the requirements of the project is to use as much Kentucky labor as possible.

The KentuckyWired system is also referred to as the “middle mile” or “backbone” andwill be an open access network that will cater to state buildings and services with the ability for county services to join.

“It’s going into state offices, it’s going into our courthouses, it’s going into our universities,” said Deckard. “But once it’s up and running, it can be used for local providers who can come and talk to us and see what we can do about getting them on board.”  

Local internet providers, referred to as the “last mile,” will be able to connect to the KentuckyWired network and extend their services.

“We are the middle mile, the local providers are the last mile, they’re going to have to get onto on our network,” said Deckard.

Hayden said the entities connected to KentuckyWired will see an exceptional increase in connection speeds.

“We’ll provide speeds of a 100-gigabit backbone across the the backbone component pieces of the network,” Hayden said.

Hayden said the KentuckyWired infrastructure will offer anywhere from 1 gigabit to 100 gigabit with a capacity for 400 gigabit. Both men said that the project will be beneficial for not only this region, but across the state.

“This project is going to be great for Eastern Kentucky,” said Deckard, “It’s going to get Eastern Kentucky up-to-date with most of the rest of the nation in the ability to get the speed the other places have.”

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