By: Tim Lindahl, Kenergy President and CEO
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a hidden gem in the midst of the vast span of land we call the United States. When I was young, we would drive through the Commonwealth to see relatives, and later our family would spend a couple of our vacations here, taking in the beauty of both the landscape and the people. I was elated when I was presented with the opportunity to join the communities of western Kentucky by serving at your electric cooperative.
When our family was looking for a new home, we really wanted to be in a rural setting, but it was critical that we have broadband so our family would be able to properly conduct our vocations. We had several reasons for choosing the home we did, but an item that tipped the scales was seeing Kenergy’s fiber being installed up the road. We knew it would only be a brief time with miserable internet and that we would have the greatest broadband in a few short months. The value of that home went up for us at that point.
There are many critical parts that make up a successful rural economy. Two of the most critical are energy and communication. Having the opportunity to be a part of a member owned and governed organization allows each of us to have a voice in providing these two necessities to enhance our modern life. In the 1930’s, electricity was a far-off dream for folks in rural areas. Communities came together in cooperative spirit and solved this hardship. Electric cooperatives have been successful in maintaining a system that others thought would never be possible. We fast forward nearly 90 years and we have a similar situation with the internet. There are pockets of good broadband in rural areas, but the vast majority of these rural areas go unserved or significantly underserved, which has created a digital poverty.
Energy policy in America is swiftly changing, requiring innovative solutions to keep the lights on and the electricity affordable. By building a fiber optic network throughout our service territory, we will be not only solving the digital poverty issue, but will have the foundation in place to help make our electric grid “smarter” while being able to manage this changing landscape. All of this while improving the value of the energy that is provided to you.
Utilizing the new fiber infrastructure for both of these large initiatives will allow us to get the best return for every dollar invested into the system. I am proud to be a part of the Kenergy team to work towards solving this digital divide and managing this energy change in a cooperative way.
Though it will take us a little while to get to everyone, we are on pace to be one of the fastest fiber builds in history so that we can get fiber-based broadband to everyone in the shortest amount of time. This also gives us the advantage to more quickly develop the tools needed to manage the changing energy landscape and keep our electricity safe, reliable, and affordable.
We appreciate your patience as we continue our buildout with this project and share in your enthusiasm to finally bring high-speed internet to you, our members.