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Citizens Against Government Waste: KentuckyWired Will Be Obsolete When It’s Built

November 9, 2017

kentuckywiredCitizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) is the latest taxpayer advocacy group to question whether Kentucky should finish its statewide, government-owned broadband system, KentuckyWired. (Kentucky’s Bluegrass Institute and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance also have been outspoken in their advocacy against the network.)

In a recent column in the Lexington Herald Leader, CAGW’s State Policy Manager Spencer Chretien argued that “by the time” KentuckyWired actually is built, it will be “obsolete” and “surpassed by private sector innovation and quality.” He explained that this problem is common with government-owned Internet Service Providers (ISPs) because states, counties, and cities do not “have personnel with the skills or experience to manage, build and maintain a vast broadband infrastructure project …”

When it comes to KentuckyWired, Chretien certainly is right. As he noted in his op-ed, and as readers of this blog know, only 129 miles of KentuckyWired’s 3,400 planned miles have been built even though $175 million—more than half of the originally $324 million budgeted for the project—has been spent. Chretien also noted, “The projected completion date, delayed three times, is now late 2019.” (That’s three years after the network originally was to be completed.)

Chretien also argued KentuckyWired is a “a solution to a problem that does not exist.”

This statement also is correct. 100 percent of Kentucky residents have access to wireless broadband while 96 percent have wireline service. Since 2011, access to a wired connection of at least 10 megabits per second (mbps) has improved from 79.9 percent to 92.0 percent of Kentuckians. Eighty-seven percent of Kentuckians have access to wired broadband 25 mbps or faster.