All residents of Kentucky’s 5th largest county should have access to reliable, high-speed internet by the end of next year.
A ribbon-cutting was held on Thursday for a broadband expansion project in Warren County.
Warren Rural Electric Cooperative and North Central Telephone Cooperative began a partnership in 2019 that has so far brought broadband access to rural areas of southeast Warren County. On Thursday, local leaders celebrated an expansion of the project that will provide broadband to the final under-served parts of the county.
“It’s a historic day in my mind for Warren County," said Wayne McDonald, President and CEO of Warren RECC. "High speed internet service to the residents of Warren County, it’s not a luxury anymore, it’s a necessity for life.”
Warren County has struggled for the past decade to offer broadband to the most rural areas due to cost. Before the partnership between Warren RECC and Tennessee-based NCTC, the project, if done by Warren County alone, would have cost $130 million. Under an agreement with the two companies, Warren County will only pay $10 million.
Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon says COVID-19 revealed the need for broadband internet and federal pandemic relief funding helped expedite funding for the project.
“Truthfully, I’ve thought for many years, the availability of affordable, high-speed internet service should be a right, not a privilege," stated Buchanon. "It’s just like water and electricity. Every household really needs it.”
Warren RECC will run the fiber optic cable and NCTC will provide the internet service, with speeds ranging from 100 megabits per second to one gigabit per second.