Despite spending hundreds of millions of state and federal dollars, Kentucky still lags behind other states in providing high-speed internet access to its residents, especially in rural communities, reported GCN.
Five years ago, an ambitious statewide broadband project known as KentuckyWired was launched; today, it’s well behind schedule and more than $100 million over budget. So far, state officials estimate a little over one-third of the project’s more than 3,000 miles of fiber-optic cable has been installed.
State Auditor Mike Harmon estimates the project will cost taxpayers $1.5 billion over the next 30 years, 50 times more than the original projection. Part of the cost comes from paying the $375,000 annual salary of the IT Chief, Chuck Grindle, appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin.
Additionally, Bevin administration officials are engaged in an expensive debate over KentuckyWired, with some officials fighting to complete the project as promised and others such as Grindle willing to cut losses, reported GCN.
Kentucky’s 4.5 million residents are lagging behind neighboring states when it comes to high-speed internet, especially in rural areas. Whether the KentuckyWired gets completed will have an impact on new jobs and economic prosperity, reported GCN.
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May 13, 2019