PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The construction phase of the KentuckyWired project in Eastern Kentucky is complete after multiple delays.
Governor Matt Bevin and Congressman Hal Rogers made the announcement at the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Summit in Pikeville Friday. With the help of the crowd counting down, the two pressed a button and activated the broadband internet connection in the region.
KentuckyWired's 1B and 2 rings will provide infrastructure for broadband connectivity in 39 counties, including: (Ring 1B) Bath, Bourbon, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clark, Clay, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Perry, Powell, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Wolfe, and (Ring 2) Bell, Harlan, Knox, Letcher, McCreary, Pike, Wayne and Whitley.
Deck Decker with the Kentucky Communication Authorities told WYMT broadband helps multiple career fields such as child protective services and the Kentucky State Police.
"We're very excited about it. So you're going to be seeing in about three months that we'll be coming through in different state government entities," Decker said.
Once the entire project is complete, it will be the first statewide high-speed broadband network in the nation. KentuckyWired is expected to be 10 to 20 times faster than what local providers have available. It will, however, be up to local providers to offer broadband to homes and businesses.
Congressman Hal Rogers said he is happy to support the project to bring faster internet to the bluegrass.
"Kentucky will be the only state that has done this. We'll be more wired than anybody else in the country," explained the Congressman.
The entire statewide network is expected to be completed in 2020.
Hand-in-hand with this announcement was the news that Senture will bring 400 new jobs to its facilities in London, Annville and Williamsburg, thanks to the new broadband network.
“Today, we are excited to announce the continued forward progress of the KentuckyWired project under our administration,” said Gov. Bevin. “With construction of the 1B and 2 rings complete, Eastern Kentucky is poised to benefit from the economic opportunities and growth that are possible with access to high-speed broadband. I am grateful to Congressman Rogers and the entire KentuckyWired team for their tireless work to bring broadband access not only to the 39 Eastern and Southeastern Kentucky counties in the 1B and 2 rings, but to the other 81 Kentucky counties as well.”
“We celebrated a historic milestone in Kentucky today by turning on KentuckyWired’s highly anticipated network rings in Eastern Kentucky,” said Congressman Hal Rogers, a co-founding principal of SOAR. “Now, we turn our attention to the last mile, by helping local leaders and providers take the next steps to extend the network on out into every community to expand access to your homes and businesses. This new broadband interstate bridges the digital gap to high-tech jobs and economic development opportunities for every single county in Kentucky.”