Bevin, Rogers hold pep rally for KentuckyWired after "radio silence"

09/16/2016 04:01 PM

FRANKFORT — Earlier this year Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin was attempting to scale back the more than 3,000 miles of fiber optic lines that will carry high-speed broadband into every single county of Kentucky, but now both he and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers are on the same page and want to remind Kentuckians the project is moving forward — despite delays.

In a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda, Bevin said the project was running months behind schedule. The announcement of the delays was not new. Lawmakers in Frankfort learned of the delays to the $324.4 million project in early August.

Bevin told a crowd of on-lookers the reason for the press conference was to break “radio silence.”

“When you sometimes go silent people are nervous. People are worried,” Bevin said. “People think, ‘Maybe they’re not committed. Maybe this project isn’t really happening.’

“The reason there has been some semblance of silence, radio silence is because Secretary (William) Landrum and others have been busting their tails having conversation, after conversation, after conversation with some of the bigger players here.”

On Friday, Bevin said that Cincinnati Bell and East Kentucky Network is allowing the state to lease a portion of their network fiber rather than running new lines.

The administration has also been working to negotiate pole attachment agreements to carry the line. Currently, the commonwealth has agreements for 76 percent of the pole’s they need with an additional 19,000 poles needed statewide.

Partially because of the pole attachment negotiations and the “complexity” of the push for a state owned network there is a 10- to 12-month delay for the Appalachian region sites, and a four- to eight-month delay in the statewide project, but Bevin assured the cost is not going up.

Another complicating factor in the project has been an $11 million a year gap needed to make bond payments. Earlier this year Bevin’s administration said the Beshear administration “tainted” the procurement process, and they were unclear where that money was going to come from.

On Friday, Bevin seemed to say that’s still a problem without a solution. He warned, however, that reporters shouldn’t “get bogged down in the details.”

“Truth be told we don’t have all the exact details, because the wire has not been laid. Every single contract has not been negotiated,” Bevin said.

“The thing that I want you to understand is that there is absolute commitment. One-hundred-percent commitment from this administration to ensure that this project is completed.”


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