Students at Hazard Community and Technical College and other Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) students will benefit from Kentucky Wired, the new program to expand broadband access and speed throughout the state, said Paul Czarapata, Vice President of Technology Solutions, KCTCS.
“Higher access speeds to remote learning resources, ability to stream educational video seamlessly in ultra-HD (4k) resolution, and having a student base with adequate access to these resources from home will be a part of the improvement,” Czarapata said. The biggest improvement for students will be the eventual availability of affordable broadband from home. Now only 23 percent of the rural population has access to broadband and only 30 percent of those that have access to it adopt it. This is most likely due to prohibitive costs, noted Czarapata.
At the announcement on Aug. 31 about the new initiative, the crowd was told Kentucky Wired will “level the playing field.” When a company is evaluating locations for a new site they tend to look at the big three — a hard working affordable/skilled labor force, inexpensive utilities, and access to all necessary communications.
“Right now broadband is a black hole in eastern Kentucky and this will certainly level the playing field to compete with other states,” Czarapata said.
Kentucky is at the bottom of the list nationally when it comes to broadband accessibility and speed, but will become one of the top in the nation when the Kentucky Wired project is complete. This means not only greater access and speed for individuals and existing organizations, but also makes costs more competitive nationally making the region and the state more attractive to business.
According to state offi- cials, Kentucky Wired is unlike any public infrastructure project in Kentucky in the last 50 years. The eastern Kentucky region will be the first priority, with work expected to be completed by April 2016.