Public input needed on fiber internet project

Photo by Brittney Meredith-Miller

A press conference was held Monday afternoon in the Lyon County Courtroom to announce the community input phase of a countywide fiber internet project.

On Monday afternoon, Lyon County Judge-Executive Wade White announced in a press conference that the Lyon County Fiscal Court, Lyon County Industrial Development Authority (IDA), Kuttawa Mayor Jimmy Campbell, and Eddyville Mayor John Choat have joined West Kentucky and Tennessee Telecommunications Cooperative (WK&T) in an initiative to make sure all citizens of Lyon County have access to high speed fiber internet services throughout the county.

"Our businesses and homeowners - from our cities to the back roads of the county - have struggled with internet service for years. We have been tackling this issue for a long time and have found some solutions, but still many of us are left with poor internet, if any internet service at all," White said. "And having fast reliable internet is too important in today's society to wait and hope something comes along."

White said the IDA met and voted to use $40,000 of the funds they received for industrial development from the TVA in lieu of tax money that was recently returned to the county to match $40,000 in funds from WK&T to gather community input and engineer the buildout of underground fiber internet service to every home and business in the county.

He said buried fiber is the best route because of its protection from storms, the fact that the fiber allows for continued bandwidth growth over the years, and its speed.

"This is one of the most exciting things I have ever announced for the betterment of everyone in Lyon County," White said. "To make this work, the county and cities must work together and carry this together; and I believe we will."

A website is currently under development to facilitate the collection of community data and input.

While the site is under development, residents can call (844) 910-LYON and leave a message with their contact information or email fiberforlyoncounty@wk.net to be notified when the website is live.

The county will also announce on Facebook and in local media when the website is active.

The community input phase of this project, which should begin next week, will help gather community commentary, engineer the buildout of the fiber network, and aid in getting the grant they plan to apply for in December for the project.

White also asked that business owners and citizens attend a joint meeting between the cities, county, IDA, and WK&T on Monday, Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. at the Lyon Convention Center at Lee S. Jones Park where they will share a more detailed layout of the plan, including projected costs and answers to community questions.

"The community input and engineering plan is the county saying we are committed and serious about moving forward, but we need to hear from the public to make this happen," the judge-executive said. "I can tell you now; if the people want it, I will do all I can to make this happen and happen as soon as possible... This can be a game-changer for all of us over the next decades to come, and I look forward to hearing the will of the people as we begin this process of solving our internet problems."