KentuckyWired could be complete in Boyle this year

Published 8:07 am Thursday, March 29, 2018

Boyle County could be hooked up to the KentuckyWired fiberoptic network by the end of this year, bringing the potential for extremely fast internet to the area.

That news was brought to the Boyle County Fiscal Court Tuesday by Holly Hopkins Scoville, manager of government and resident relations for Ledcor Group, working on the construction side of the KentuckyWired project.

Scoville provided an update on the project to magistrates, in part to address concerns from recent news coverage that led people to believe the KentuckyWired project was being stopped by the legislature.

Email newsletter signup

The Kentucky Senate did not include $30 million in payments to private partners on the project in its proposed budget, according to reporting from the Associated Press last week.

Scoville said coverage of the Senate’s move has been “a little misleading” because “the bonds are already signed, the contracts are already sent, that money is already allocated.”

Work on the KentuckyWired project — a network of more than 3,000 miles of fiberoptic cable that will extend into every county in the state — is continuing, she said. In fact, the portion of the project that includes Boyle County is expected to be done by the end of this year, she said.

“We have been doing some work in your area because you all will be among the first to receive this,” she said.

KentuckyWired will provide fiberoptic internet — capable of “downloading a three-and-a-half hour movie in 15 seconds” — to governments and schools around the state. From there, it will be up to local governments and/or businesses on when and how they build out the fiber network from centralized access points to reach residences and businesses.

Scoville said the big thing KentuckyWired will deliver that hasn’t been available before is a fiberoptic “backbone” that allows full-speed fiber connections to the internet. The federal government attempted to incentivize private companies to build such a backbone before, but the companies were unwilling to make the necessary investment, she said.

With the KentuckyWired backbone in place, it will allow private businesses to build out from the backbone to reach customers. Local governments can opt to be internet service providers, as well — Lexington plans to “run fiber to every home and business in Fayette County,” she said.

Scoville noted Boyle County won’t be required to do anything.

Fiber internet can benefit Boyle County in a variety of ways, Scoville said.

“I don’t find anyone who lives in these communities who doesn’t want this. Because this affects life, this affects economics, this affects your education, this affects your health care. You can do a thousand things with this,” she said. “… Before this project began, the state of Kentucky was No. 48 in broadband that was offered across the state. Since we have begun this project, we are now at 36. When we complete this project, we will be at No. 4 in the United States. That’s a huge jump.

“Businesses want to know what you have to offer when it comes to this. High-end manufacturing cannot operate without having a good connection. So it’s a big deal.”