Grassroots Efforts Bring High-Speed Internet to Rural Kentucky—One Community’s Story

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In Greenup County, Kentucky, Melinda Spears and her two teenage daughters have never had an opportunity to connect to affordable high-speed Internet.

“I have a daughter in high school and, well have you tried to do anything on the computer via dialup lately?” Spears wrote to ConnectKentucky. “It’s excruciatingly slow if it even works at all. Needless to say, she is unable to do any of her computer based schoolwork at home. In this day of technology, citizens are literally handicapped without the use of the Internet for everything from entertainment to information to education to contacting your representatives.”

However, thanks to grassroots efforts from public officials, private industry, local residents, and ConnectKentucky, Spears, her daughters, and her neighborhood are now benefiting from affordable high-speed Internet.

In a time where connectivity continues to be an issue in many rural areas in all states, Spears’ story is all too common. Her neighborhood is small — just 17 or so families. It’s on the border of two counties — Greenup and Boyd. Spears called her neighborhood, which runs along Brookefield Farm Road, the “Bermuda Triangle of Greenup County.”

Based on a suggestion from State Rep. Tanya Pullin (D-District 98), Spears contacted ConnectKentucky, who suggested that Spears gather a group of neighbors interested in broadband service. She did just that and, in May, Foundation Telecommunications, Inc. (FTI) started providing Spears and her neighbors with high-speed service.

Rep. Pullin was pleased.

“I have been working to expand broadband service to our area for years. Because we are largely a rural area, several different ways to deliver high-speed Internet are needed to meet the needs of the residents here. Since FTI’s technology seems to work well, it may help to provide high-speed Internet to other rural parts of our county, too,” Rep. Pullin said. “I applaud Mrs. Spears and her neighbors for taking an active role in making this solution work. I also commend ConnectKentucky for their creativity in finding this high-speed Internet solution.”

For Spears and her neighbors, the new broadband service is working beautifully and they couldn’t be more excited.

“We were at the end of our rope. Our daughter had a new computer, but she was not using it. We are really happy with the new broadband service and others I have talked with are also pleased,” Spears said. “FTI was very persistent in dealing with the weather challenges in setting up the system. It is a whole different world being able to use broadband.”

About ConnectKentucky: ConnectKentucky is leading the way into a new economy for Kentuckians. As an independent technology-based economic development organization, ConnectKentucky works to ensure that Kentucky remains the place of choice to live, work, and raise a family. ConnectKentucky is an alliance of technology-minded businesses, government entities, and universities working together to accelerate technology in the Commonwealth. http://www.connectkentucky.org.

About Foundation Telecommunications

We're an innovative telecommunications services company serving broadcast, cable, business, government, and education clients on a worldwide basis, employing a customer intimacy strategy with a full-service integrated systems approach.
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