The Kentucky Community and Technical College (KCTCS) will play an integral role in Kentucky Wired, the new program to expand broadband access and speed throughout the state. KCTCS colleges, including five in eastern Kentuckys Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) area, have been designated Community Anchor Institutions and will serve as distribution hubs for connectivity with new buildings to house fiber optic cable built on their properties. This makes KCTCS colleges a priority location for creating improved coverage in communities throughout the commonwealth.

Kentucky is at the bottom of the list nationally when it comes to broadband accessibility and speed, but will become one of the top in the nation when the Kentucky Wired project is complete. This means not only greater access and speed for individuals and existing organizations, but also makes costs more competitive nationally making the region and the state more attractive to business.

Kentucky Wired is an important project for the state, and particularly for eastern Kentucky, KCTCS President Dr. Jay Box said. Lack of access to broadband has been holding the region back when it comes to creating, expanding and recruiting business. Good broadband access is a given for the rest of the nation, so its past time for Kentucky to catch up.

The SOAR colleges Ashland Community and Technical College, Big Sandy Community and Technical College, Hazard Community and Technical College, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College and Somerset Community College also will offer new classes in coding and other technology skills as well as classes in fiber optics. Skilled workers who can install fiber optic cable will be in demand during the construction phase of Kentucky Wired.

According to state officials, Kentucky Wired is unlike any public infrastructure project in Kentucky in the last 50 years. The eastern Kentucky region will be the first priority, with work expected to be completed there by April 2016.