By: Kamille Johnson
A new piece of technology is about to change the community and it’s located at Eastern Kentucky University’s Corbin Regional Campus. A special hut outfitted with fiber optic cable is now located at the facility and will benefit communities in Whitley and Knox County.
Kentucky Communications Network Authority (KCNA) created a network to manage a statewide broadband initiative known as KentuckyWired Network. The network is an “open access” network available to partners, cities and businesses for last mile services that are directed to customers.
The main goal is to make Kentucky a national leader for high-capacity internet service, as well as, meeting needs for government locations.
To benefit from this hut the counties and cities have to connect to the entrance and exit ramps to the KentuckyWired interstate. The decision to connect to the ramps is left up to internet providers that will need to build roads through the counties and cities so that businesses can connect to the network and bring more businesses to Kentucky.
Joyce Brewer, The contract manager and site operations of KentuckyWired Network says, “This will also allow the families of eastern Kentucky to have jobs at home. They will be able to train for careers at home, because this high speed network will be available to them. They can also “see a doctor” from home & not have to travel to Lexington to get healthcare.”
The KentuckyWired network has 31 huts across the state with more than 1,000 end points. Some of the endpoints are at Circuit Clerk offices, Libraries, Universities, Community Colleges, and Government Offices.
Construction began in the SOAR region in 2015 and is expected to be finished in fall 2018. The network will then make its way through the rest of the state.
The Corbin hut has 288 strands of fiber optic cable connected through it while the KentuckyWired network uses more than 3,000 miles of network sites statewide. Around 85% of the fiber is installed on poles and the other 15% is installed underground.
There are approximately 70 telecommunications, electric and municipal utilities, for access to poles that are used in the fiber huts. The huts use a system called the middle mile that connects communities such as internet providers or telephone companies. Even though the network isn’t directed towards home usage, it “allows ISPs the potential capacity to increase speeds in your home,” according to the Kentucky Wired website.
Brewer states, “One other very important thing is that KentuckyWired should help drive competition among the local internet service providers. More small ISPs can compete because they can connect to our backbone. They don’t have to spend money to build that infrastructure. We believe this will allow more ISPs in a given area & this should help drive down the cost of internet for all counties.”
“The KentuckyWired Fiber Optic Network is intended to be a middle mile backbone network that is a partnership with all local service providers. We are in this together and it takes teamwork and partnership to make it a success for our citizens,” Brewer explained. Kentucky is ranked 47th in the nation for internet speeds, and Brewer hopes the Kentucky wired project will help the Commonwealth become a national leader.
The fiber hut isn’t just about faster internet, anticipated benefits include economic development, tourism growth, higher education advances, interconnected public safety, enhanced health care, improvement on government service delivery and enhancements for connectivity for libraries and communities.
More information can be found at the KentuckyWired website, http://kentuckywired.ky.gov/about/Pages/def.aspx