County leaders coming together with Kentucky-based broadband consulting firm to launch effort

Southeastern KY Final Mile project (SKY FM) kickoff to be held:

2:00 pm June 8th, 2016

Room 123 D&E, First Federal Center

Hazard Community and Technical College

One Community College Drive

Hazard, Kentucky 41701

The Southeastern Kentucky Final Mile (SKY FM) broadband fiber planning project will kick-off with a meeting June 8th at 2:00 p.m. on the campus of Hazard Community and Technical College. This project has been awarded a state grant to create an action plan as the first step in expanding high-speed broadband across Clay, Leslie, Perry, Letcher and Knott Counties.

“We are thrilled to be one of the first final mile planning projects funded in the state,” said Perry County Judge Executive Scott Alexander.  “We know high-speed fiber networks hold the key to us being able to compete for good-paying jobs and this consortium of counties is committed to working together and with private industry to make that happen.”

The Southeastern Kentucky Final Mile project’s ultimate goal is to enable public-private partnerships that expand high-speed broadband Internet access to homes, schools, hospitals, businesses, public buildings, industrial parks, and other critical structures in rural southeastern Kentucky.  The participants in the SKY FM project hope this first step of an informed plan will eventually lead to the construction of an extensive fiber network across the five-county area and serve as a working model for use across the Commonwealth and nation.

Judge Executive Joe Asher of Clay County

“This final mile project is very unique even across the nation, as this consortium will be bringing together public entities and private industry to solve this major community and economic development challenge,” agreed Judge Executive Joe Asher of Clay County (pictured left).

 “We encourage and hope to have broad and diverse involvement in this planning project from many different community groups and business representatives,” added Judge Executive Zach Weinberg of Knott County.

“Broadband is an essential 21st century need for the citizens and businesses across rural Kentucky,” said Judge Executive Jimmy Sizemore of Leslie County. 

“I too believe that broadband is a great equalizer and this planning project permits us to take a giant step forward together for the better good of our citizens,” said Letcher County Judge Executive Jim Ward.

Those interested in the project are encouraged to attend the kick-off event at 2:00 pm Wednesday, June 8th, 2016 in Room 123 D&E of the First Federal Center of the Hazard Community and Technical College in Hazard, Kentucky.

Funding assistance is being provided through grants from the Kentucky Communications Network Authority (KCNA), and the SOAR's Kentucky Appalachian Regional Development Fund.  The SKFM project will utilize the Commonwealth’s master service contract with Kentucky-based Connected Nation Exchange (CNX) as the lead consultant in creating the action plan for a public-private partnership across this five-county consortium.



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