Lexington Leaders Assessing Rural Broadband Options

Sep 25, 2017

Credit kentuckywired.ky.gov

Lexington government leaders are studying the best ways to extend high-speed broadband fiber connectivity in rural areas of Fayette County.

Council's Environmental Quality and Public Works Committee gave the issue attention last week. 

Chief Innovation Officer Scott Shipiro says rural areas of the county are not eligible for federal grant money to help with fiber installation.

“We think we deserve a waiver because our rural area is protected and will remain rural.  It’s not simply sprawl that’s waiting to happen.  So, that’s an idea that we’ve been pursuing as well,” Shipiro said.

Another option is to put in place a so-called “middle mile”.  It would amount to a main fiber line crossing the county that could be the source for other connections. 

Committee Member Richard Moloney asked about the feasibility of the urban county government itself taking on wiring the whole county.  Chief Information Officer Aldona Valicenti said other cities have found such an endeavor challenging. 

“We did take a look at those cities that have built their own utility.  Those cities…now they were not as dense maybe as we are and in some geographies that were maybe more difficult…but those cities have not been successful,” said Valicenti.

Valicenti says previous estimates have place such a project at a cost exceeding $120 million.