NEW REPORT: Exploring Barriers to Kentucky Broadband Expansion
New research released by Pegasus Institute dives into the crucial question of “What state government action can Kentucky take to expand broadband access in the Commonwealth?” As millions of students and workers across the country are forced to learn and work from home, access to fast and reliable internet has never been more important. The lack of stable broadband in many parts of Kentucky has only exacerbated gaps in learning over the last few months. While in the past government has aimed to be the supplier of broadband, our new research suggest they are better served to get themselves out of the way.
Policy experts almost uniformly agree that access to high performance broadband service is essential to the American economy in the next decade. Over the past two decades, the digital economy in the United States has grown at nearly four times the rate of GDP overall.
Approximately 94 percent of Americans have access to broadband service as of 2020 with approximately 80 percent having access to speeds of a gigabit or higher. The remaining 6 percent is significant, not merely because the goal should be universal access, but because the over 20 million Americans that lack service are predominately concentrated in rural areas, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
Kentucky is ranked in the bottom fifth of broadband access nationwide. National website BroadbandNow places the state 40th in the United States. While 92.2 percent of Kentuckians have access to a broadband connection of 25 mbps of faster, this percentage still falls below the national average. Report author Jordan Harris notes, “Removing barriers to expansions like pole attachment regulations and unnecessary taxes, as well as suspending the boondoggle of a program, Kentucky Wired, will pay dividends for years to come, not just for Kentucky’s economy, but for every single Kentucky family. Access to fast, reliable, and affordable broadband service is no longer about watching Youtube videos or catching up with former classmates. It has become an essential part of schooling, work, and health.”
Read the full report HERE