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State Journal: Time For A Timeout On KentuckyWired

October 10, 2017

Last week, this blog wrote about growing state legislator discontent with KentuckyWired, the Bluegrass State’s government-owned broadband network. Now it seems members of the media in Kentucky are also growing impatient with the network and its overseers. 

In an editorial, The State Journal, Frankfort, Ky.’s largest newspaper, said, “At minimum, the state needs to call timeout and reassess KentuckyWired’s viability.” Editorial writers argued, “To continue on the current path with no reasonable guarantee of success is unacceptable.”

Citing the fact that only 68 miles of the 3,000 promised have been built, the editorial called KentuckyWired a “boondoggle.” The editors also noted the state already has paid $7 million in penalties to its private sector financiers because construction on the network is so far behind. The editorial concluded, “It’s no wonder that some state lawmakers have called for pulling the plug on the project.”

The venture capital firm that’s helping the state (and reaping the penalty revenues) dismissed concerns, calling the delay “temporary setbacks.”

State Journal editors, however, don’t believe those arguments. They wrote, “[T]he types of problems experienced so far suggest continued tough sledding …” Based on other news last wee, that assessment seems to be right on. According to the Nelson County Gazette, last Tuesday a fiscal court delayed action on telecom franchise agreement for KentuckyWired—a problem that could generate further delays.

According to the Gazette, the judicial branch also might be fed up with KentuckyWired. The newspaper said, “During the court’s meeting Tuesday, the magistrates had some pointed questions about the overall KentuckyWired project.”