Blog Post

Connect Kentucky Gets Disconnected

The Democratic Governor of Kentucky has vetoed two years of funding for the continuation of a statewide broadband expansion program that’s a model for pushing nationwide rural broadband. Governor Steven Beshear vetoed $2.4 million in state funding for Connect Kentucky, a group founded in 2002 to spread broadband access around the Bluegrass State.

In vetoing the law Beshear commended the work Connect Kentucky has done to connect the state, but pointed out that, in a time of budget cuts, increasing the program’s funding by 26 percent wasn’t prudent. While Connect Kentucky has its attackers, it enjoys support from both sides of the political aisle and has spawned a national broadband program called Connected Nation. Perhaps Connect Kentucky will find its funding elsewhere.

9 Responses to “Connect Kentucky Gets Disconnected”

  1. KY Broadband wrote: “[CK] should be encouraging [KY folks] to start ISP’s… of their own.”

    They have been doing just that… working with startup ISPs to help them leverage funding sources to get BB started.

  2. KY Broadband

    Well, I do live in KY and I will tell you that Connect KY has been THE leading impediment to broadband deployment in this state. Their “studies”, maps and “do-nothing” meetings are useless and erroneous.
    Since when does telling people that they need broadband helping. Duh, they want and need broadband but what does CK do to help them? Tell them right off that bat, that they don’t have any money to help them get it and they are left to the mercies of AT&T.
    And when they do help you get the likes of the ConnectGRADD project which can not seem to get going because of CK’s “help”.
    Instead of urging these folks to wait for the Verizon’s and AT&Ts of the world to bring them broadband they should be encouraging them to start ISPs and broadband co-operatives of their own.

  3. Where does Gigi live

    In Kentucky all of the state’s papers today had front page stories about state leaders gushing over the success of Connect KY – including that Govnr Steve Beshear is proud of their work and is committed to funding it and sustaining it – just not through a budget line item. That seems fair enough.
    As I’ve followed the links provided in the first post here, I find it interesting that this public group through Art Brosky is willing to dish it out but get squirrelly when someone names them for what they are. Even more interesting that this Art fellow needs somebody named Gigi to take up for him and tell everybody to stop picking on him. You just can’t have it both ways, can you.
    I’m not sure what ad hominem means but I’ve read a detailed rebuttal of Art Brosky’s assessment which is included in a number of blogs. It’s amazing how far off on so many points he is.
    Stacey though is right on several counts – this PK group looks to me to be a Washington DC lobbying group that is attacking a Kentucky group they know nothing about. I’ve been to my communities meetings and think Gigi and Art would think different had they actually been in some of these meetings and seen the changes in small county KY. Stacey is also right that ConnectKentucky has earned the respect of both sides of the political aisle and that doesn’t happen often here.
    Before ConnectKentucky made the point that we don’t have to be satisfied with being last in technology, communities were fairly well resigned to that reality. Now KY is talked about as a national model? That’s a welcomed change for those of us who actually live in Kentucky.

  4. Stacey Higginbotham

    Gigi, I read through both posts and without doing some on the ground reporting, I’m afraid that I think the PK information is slightly misleading. For example, PK neglected to mention that the Governor’s veto commended the program, and instead focused only on the negatives. I’m familiar with the Bells astroturfing techniques, which is why I linked to the PK blog entry raising doubts about the program.

  5. It is unfair to characterize Public Knowledge as an “attacker” of Connect Kentucky and Connected Nation. Rather than “attacking” CK and CN, the blog post you link to raises legitimate questions about 1) whether the people of Kentucky and elsewhere have gotten a fair return on the millions of dollars their governments have given to CK and CN and 2) whether CK is promoting a policy agenda that is at odds with widespread broadband deployment. Neither CK nor CN have yet rebutted the substance of our questions, preferring to engage in ad hominem attacks on PK and the author of the post. Here is PK’s take on yesterday’s veto: