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The Digital Divide

Reliable, affordable internet access is an essential service for individuals and businesses alike, just like electricity, water and sewer. Kentucky has historically been at or near the bottom of national and international rankings for broadband speed and capacity. This is a disadvantage for attracting business, expanding jobs and educational attainment.

This is especially true in Southern and Eastern Kentucky, where the declining coal industry has negatively impacted communities. Through supporting the implementation of KentuckyWired infrastructure in Southern and Eastern Kentucky, The Center for Rural Development is working to bridge the digital divide in the communities we serve.

What is KentuckyWired?

KentuckyWired is a statewide fiber optic network which will deliver affordable, high-capacity, high-speed broadband access to communities throughout Kentucky.

The project is based on an unprecedented partnership between The Center for Rural Development, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and private sector partners to build out the network’s middle-mile. KentuckyWired through its partners will provide wholesale network capacity to local providers who can extend the last-mile infrastructure to local homes and businesses. KentuckyWired is an open access, state-owned physical fiber optic network.

Who will benefit from KentuckyWired?

High speed internet access and reliable connectivity will equip businesses in Southern and Eastern Kentucky to compete globally and increase economic opportunities for our communities. Educators and students will have greater access to improved learning tools to further student achievement. Healthcare entities will be able to share data in real time to improve patient outcomes. First responders will be better equipped to communicate during emergencies to make our communities safer. Individuals will benefit from lower provider costs and improved accessibility for personal and business services.

Key Benefits

  • Expand economic development
  • Advance educational achievement
  • Improve healthcare outcomes
  • Increase community safety
  • Lower cost and better access

Is my Community Ready?

A “Fiber Ready” community supports broadband adoption in a way that will positively impact a community’s social and economic status. The Last-Mile Action Team, a group formed to coordinate with KentuckyWired, works to increase broadband access and adoption and can assist communities in becoming fiber ready. The team is comprised of members representing existing broadband providers, non-profit economic developers, and government officials, along with technical and policy experts. They can be contacted through The Center for Rural Development.

More information about the history and progress of KentuckyWired is available at You may also join our mailing list to receive news and information about KentuckyWired from The Center for Rural Development or contact Scott Surber, Broadband Technology Liaison for The Center, at or 606-677-6000.

Technology Assistance Program (TAP)

The Center for Rural Development has launched a Technology Assistance Program (TAP) to help communities begin asset mapping, perform feasibility studies, and conduct pre-engineering analyses of community fiber projects or other activities that will extend the reach of the KentuckyWired fiber infrastructure. The initiative is funded by grant KY-18984-17 from the Appalachian Regional Commission and is administered by The Center for Rural Development. The Center has additional information about local, state, and federal funds that support the initiative to bring broadband access to rural areas.

The Center is dedicated to helping communities explore ways to become “fiber ready”, in order to make reliable high-speed, high-capacity internet available to as many people as possible. The mission of The Center is to positively impact the communities within 45 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky, through supporting the implementation of KentuckyWired infrastructure. The Center is working to bridge the digital divide. Communities interested in broadband training opportunities are encouraged to contact The Center at or 606-677-6000.