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KentuckyWired Not A Good Deal For Taxpayers

September 22, 2015

iStock_000005643842MediumShould Kentucky taxpayers be excited about the $324 million statewide broadband network government officials are planning? David Williams, president of the Taxpayer Protection Alliance, says no.

In a column in The Courier Journal, Williams argues, “This project is a bad idea for five reasons: the state’s partner on this project, the likelihood of cost overruns, consumer cost considerations, privacy concerns and the weight of competing government spending priorities.” Williams explains the state’s partner on the project, Macquarie Capital, has tried to charge taxpayers in other cities $20 a month on their utility bills in order to get Macquarie’s help with their government-owned broadband networks. He also said KentuckyWired would also likely end up costing more than the $324 million that’s currently estimated and won’t make a profit or provider consumers with a better deal. Finally, Williams says consumers who use the network should worry about their privacy and that the state has more pressing priorities on which it should spend taxpayer funds.

At an event in Lexington, Ky. Williams also noted that the services provided by KentuckyWired wouldn’t be free. Williams said, “People think that they’re getting something for free. Well, first of all, it costs as a taxpayer to pay for it, but once these systems are put in they have to pay for access. So you’re not getting the broadband for free. You’re not getting the cable TV for free. You still have to pay a monthly fee for this as you would with the private sector companies.”

Williams isn’t the only taxpayer advocate who criticized KentuckyWired last week.

In the Bowling Green Daily News last week, the Bluegrass Institute’s Jim Waters criticized government officials who still haven’t released the contract between the state and Macquarie Capital. Waters reports, “Instead of just releasing the documents, a finance cabinet official responded to a simple request to see the contract by claiming his office was having technical difficulties posting the documents online but claimed they would be available in another week or so.”