A national group that has pushed expanding broadband access in other southern states is now focusing on Kentucky. Citizens for a Digital Future is opening up a Kentucky chapter to help advocate for these issues with lawmakers and private businesses.
The group’s Kentucky director, Gary Gerdemann, says a lack of wireless options is affecting businesses and education.
“Now imagine you’re a single parent in rural Kentucky and your child has a project due and internet access for you means the public library several miles away. Imagine it’s late at night and you can’t get that project done," he says.
The group says Kentucky focuses too much on regulations protecting traditional landline phones, which take up all available resources for broadband.
Jim Waters, the president of the Bluegrass Institute and a supporter of the program, says lawmakers need to cut those regulations.
“It’s time for our legislature to get out the bush hog and clear out the underbrush of some of these antiquated, outdated regulations that discourage more investment in wireless and broadband in our state," he says.
If the group doesn’t succeed with lawmakers, they plan to encourage private businesses to take the lead anyway.