Kentucky to build 3,400-mile state-owned broadband network and a fight is brewing

Yet another US state is weighing up the idea of laying thousands of miles of cable to create its own broadband network.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that a group of telcos are pushing back against a proposed $324m network involving 3,400 miles of cabling, which would cover 120 counties in the state.

The construction phase of the project is tentatively set to be completed by the Fall of 2018, with a private company building and maintaining the state-owned network.

The Kentucky broadband plan would deliver a backbone network throughout the state, including the rural and mountainous regions that make up much of Kentucky’s terrain. Known as KentuckyWired, the publicly owned network would operate as a “middle mile” network, with local ISPs linking up individual homes and offices.

Much like neighboring West Virginia, Kentucky hopes that operating a backbone at the state-level will help bring high-speed, reliable broadband service to numerous areas of the state where commercial carriers have been unwilling or unable to lay down the thousands of miles of cable across sparsely populated areas.

Also much-like the West Virginia plan, Kentucky’s state-funded network effort is hitting stiff opposition from cable companies operating in the state. According to the Herald-Leader, the telcos have banded up with small-government advocacy groups to oppose the network, arguing the backbone is unnecessary and would create a state-funded agency that would directly compete with private companies who already offer service in the state.

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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