High-speed internet more widely available in county

Published 2:36 pm Tuesday, September 21, 2021

As of the end of August, access to affordable high-speed internet has been expanded throughout Nicholasville. Through funds awarded to Windstream by the Federal Communication Commission through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), Windstream plans to spend the coming years providing fiber-backed networks to 239 locations in Jessamine County.

Beginning Aug. 1, 2019, the RDOF has been working to improve broadband access, establishing high-speed fixed service to rural homes and small businesses that lack it, to bridge the digital divide. Organizations were awarded the job to bring broadband to over five million homes and businesses across the country that were entirely unserved by broadband with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps.

Not only will Windstream be working in Jessamine County, but they received RDOF support for broadband deployment projects in parts of 59 counties in Kentucky. The RDOF and Windstream will be partnering in Jessamine County and in the commonwealth to establish long-lasting networks that those benefiting can access for years to come.

The venture was announced Wednesday morning during a press conference at the Jessamine County Courthouse. Speakers included US Congressman Andy Barr, Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman, Jessamine County Judge-Executive David West, and president of Windstream Kentucky Operations Brian Harman.

“We’re passing 11,000 homes with fiber here in Nicholasville and Jessamine County,” said Harman. “Reliable high-speed internet at a reasonable rate is one of the raw materials communities need for economic development, education, healthcare, and quality of life. We’re here today to celebrate the project to bring fast, reliable broadband speeds to Kentucky residents.”

Windstream is currently involved in a multi-year two-billion investment to upgrade their network to fiber. Just last year they invested $47 million to expand broadband access across the commonwealth. Meanwhile, congressman Andy Barr has sponsored the Rural Broadband Expansion Act, which allows communities to use the CARES Act money to partner with companies like Windstream to deploy high-speed internet faster to more rural communities.
“We have a huge deficiency in not just central Kentucky and Jessamine County, but nationwide to connecting rural America to a high-speed internet,” said Congressman Barr. “This is a matter of American national competitiveness, and to see this private investment in our backyard and in our community is so valuable.”

This investment will be complemented by public investments such as the Broadband Data Act, which Congress recently passed to help improve the mapping and identify areas are that are deficient in 5G and high-speed connectivity.

“We’ve heard stories of students going into Mcdonald’s parking lots to get WiFi. And this is not a new story for folks that have been in the school system, for parents that have been in the school system,” said Lt. Governor Coleman. “The way that we work and live and have access to broadband is no longer a luxury. It is part of our infrastructure. It is a requirement for learning and growing. We believe every single Kentuckian has a right to affordable high-speed internet. So we have to make sure every one of our citizens and our small communities don’t fall behind.”

Fiber-backed networks are continuing to be planned for installation in the Jessamine County area. Currently, an installation project is underway through Keene Troy Pike. Harman estimates this project to be completed by mid-October.

Judge-Executive West remarked, “After a year of working and learning from home, the importance of reliable internet access is clear; quality broadband is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. This is exciting news, and I am looking forward to seeing our community move one step closer to quality internet access for all. I thank Representative Andy Barr for being here on this commemorative day for Jessamine County.”

For more information, visit www.jessamineco.com or Jessamine County Facebook page, or call 859-885-4500.