GUEST POV | No need for government fiber - WDRB 41 Louisville News

GUEST POV | No need for government fiber

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Tyler Campbell
WDRB Guest Editorial

The Internet. Most Kentuckians know that to compete in a 21st Century economy, our students, our job seekers and our businesses … need high-speed broadband access. 

And they have it. Millions of Kentuckians, including rural Kentuckians have access to high-speed broadband thanks to Kentucky's private telecom providers. 

Kentucky's rural telcos serve all or part of 53 counties, employ more than 1,400 people and have run more than 12,000 miles of world class fiber to businesses and residents in rural Kentucky. Although, based on rhetoric from the previous gubernatorial administration, Kentuckians probably aren't aware of it.  

For the past year, state officials have tried to sell the public on a state-owned, taxpayer-backed fiber network called KentuckyWired. In reality, this project is a duplicate network that will run the exact same fiber to state agencies, schools and libraries already being served by the private sector.

Is it in the best interest of taxpayers to build and maintain a duplicate broadband network for the next 30 years?  

Government-owned networks do not have a great track record of success.  Groton, Conn. jumped in and lost city taxpayers nearly $30 million!  Provo, Utah also experimented with government broadband and ended up selling its system for $1. Taxpayers are still paying off the $40 million debt. 

We have broadband access. And we need more. Instead of competing with the private sector, state officials should look to create a better business climate that encourages more investment and creates jobs.

I'm Tyler Campbell and that's my point of view.

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