Kenton County and Cincinnati Bell announced a partnership Thursday to bring high-speed internet access to every household in the county.
The announcement follows a similar one made in Boone Co. in March, and one last year that aimed to connect lower income Northern Kentucky families to high-speed internet.
The county said that after a competitive bidding process, a contract was negotiated with Cincinnati Bell to assure construction of a high-speed fiber-to-the-premise broadband network to every home in the county in the next 24 to 36 months.
The announcement predicted that the infrastructure would hold up for forty years or more.
Cincinnati Bell will immediately begin extending its fiber-to-the-premise solution to homes and businesses in Kenton County that currently don’t have fiber available. The initial fiber construction schedule plan is for 100% fiber-to-the-premise coverage to be completed by August 2023.
The company will also be extending fiber to multi-family units during this process.
Along with Boone and Campbell counties, who are also contracting with Cincinnati Bell, Northern Kentucky will become home to the first counties in the United States that are 100% fiber-to-the premise served, the announcement said.
“One of Kenton County’s top priorities is to deliver access to high-speed broadband internet to all of our families. That goal is now becoming a reality with the approval of our contract with Cincinnati Bell to make their high speed internet fiber-to-the-premise network available to all residents in the next 24 to 36 months, offering one gigabit speeds to an additional 37,000 addresses,” Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of quality internet access was notable as children learned, and many workers did their jobs from home as part of efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
During this period, numerous initiatives emerged to address what has been called “the digital divide.”
This effort in Kenton Co., the announcement said, will directly address medical and public health needs through tele-medicine, as well as educational and economic support to those in need. In addition, it will provide direct access to employment, promote economic growth, and mitigate the negative impacts that COVID-19 has had on entrepreneurship and the agricultural community, it said.
“It’s an exciting development for Kenton County, and as historic as any initiative ever undertaken here in our community. Most importantly, I believe in the potential of our people, and I know delivering fiber-based broadband to their homes will empower them to pursue their dreams,” Knochelmann said.