Spectrum begins broadband expansion for rural parts of Boyle County

Published 10:03 am Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Construction has started on Spectrum’s fiber-optic network expansion in rural parts of Boyle County. The project will bring gigabit broadband to more than 2,600 homes and small businesses in the county that, for years, have dealt with slow internet or rely on landlines.

Spectrum officials presented a map of the project’s coverage in a press conference on Friday. The new coverage will be all over the county in the large western areas and far eastern areas.

“I am still tingling with excitement because this is something that our residents have needed for years and years and years, and we are now moving solidly into the 21st century,” Judge Executive Howard Hunt said. “This is going to start where we need it most, and eventually cover the entire county.”

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Phase 1 of construction will serve 1,445 homes, primarily in Magisterial Districts 1, 2 and 4. Preliminary planning, design and permitting is complete, and the actual installation will begin later this year.

Phase 2 will service another 1,158 underserved homes, primarily in Magisterial Districts 3 and 4. Magisterial Districts 5 and 6, which are in Danville and its immediate area, are already served.

The buildout is part of Spectrum’s approximately $5 billion investment in unserved rural areas around the nation, which includes more than $1 billion won in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction.

Boyle County’s Phase 1 is being funded by the federal RDOF money. Areas were identified by the FCC’s assessment and prioritization of underserved, rural areas. Hunt thanked Congressman Brett Guthrie for assistance in identifying and funding those areas.

“The pandemic, telehealth, and all these things that are coming because of the internet, it really exposed the lack of rural broadband,” Guthrie said. “If you live in that area, this is your lifeline, this is how you get information, this is how you do your homework, how you go to the doctor, so it’s vitally important.”

Phase 2 is funded through the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority’s Rural Infrastructure Improvement Fund.

“I offer my deep gratitude to Representative Daniel Elliot for his assistance and guidance in securing Phase 2 funding,” Hunt said. “This will leave only a scattering of homes unserved, and are what we call the ‘last mile’ of connectivity.”

The $2.3 million funding, with Charter Communications investing $4 million, totals $6.3 million for the project. Additional support for the projects comes from the Kentucky’s Better Internet Program which includes a more than $203 million investment to expand reliable and affordable high-speed internet to more than 34,000 Kentucky families and businesses.

Ellen Call, senior director of government affairs for Charter Communications, said construction for expanding broadband is a major effort where homes are far apart from each other.

“Spectrum knows the challenges that rural communities are facing when it comes to connectivity, and we have made this our very top priority; this is our mission to bridge this gap,” Call said.

A local from the Forkland community in western Boyle County, Matthew Ellis, said the community is grateful for the much-needed expansion.

“One thing about Forkland, it’s like we always want to be left alone; we feel like we’ve got the most beautiful part of this county … but at the same time we don’t want our elderly to suffer, we don’t want our children to suffer who can’t get online, so we appreciate so much what the fiscal court has done,” Ellis said.

Spectrum offers a suite of products, highlighted by Spectrum Internet plans with speeds up to 1 Gbps. Along with multiple broadband options, Spectrum services will also include Spectrum TV and Spectrum Mobile.

Spectrum is also a participant in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which makes internet service available at a low, or even at no cost to eligible families in financial need. All Spectrum Internet plans are eligible for ACP credits.

Local residents and business owners should visit spectrumruralexpansion.com to learn more about when their home or business may be able to receive services.