On Jan. 19, Kentucky’s Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman announced the launch of the Kentucky Broadband Speed Test. This test allows for Kentucky residents to run a speed test on their internet.

The goal of this test is to see what areas in the state are lacking high-speed internet and how it can be improved for distance learning, telework and telehealth, according to a press release sent out by Governor Andy Beshear’s office.

McLean County Judge-Executive Curtis Dame said one of his goals when coming into office was to access and develop high speed fiber internet for the county.

“I personally feel like fiber is a sustainable, cost-effective method,” he said.

Dame said fiber internet is a 30-50 year asset, whereas satellite internet is only as strong as the satellite.

Sacramento is the only city in the county that has fiber internet through White Cloud Communications. Dame said the only issue with that is it does not reach outside of the city.

According to the USDA, anything that is less than 25 megabytes per second is considered to be slow. Dame said the average speed of the internet in McLean is less than 25 MB/s.

“If there’s any silver lining that’s come out of COVID-19, it’s that there has been an emphasis on developing rural based high speed internet,” Dame said.

Coleman said there is a “huge divide” in households across Kentucky, especially in rural areas.

“There is a digital divide in households across Kentucky, especially in rural areas, that has become even more apparent during the pandemic when so many people need it to attend school, go to work, get government services and conduct personal business from home,” she said. “As an educator, I am especially concerned about the 13,000, or 2%, of Kentucky students who lack internet access at home so they are basically cut off from their teachers and classrooms. We have to do better by them.”

Some McLean County residents took to the Judge-Executive’s Office Facebook page after running the speed test on their device.

“We would just like to have an option at our house, it is crazy 2021 and we can’t even get internet,” said one resident.

Others reported not even being able to complete the test because their internet wouldn’t let them. Some reported that the only internet they are able to receive is through cellular internet.

Dame said having faster internet would draw more businesses to McLean County.

“In the 21st century, two of the three things people look at, even just for moving here for residential, is access to land and property, and then high speed internet.”

The last day to run the speed test is Feb. 18. In order to run the test, residents need to visit ewdc.ky.gov/Initiatives/Pages/KBI.aspx.

Individuals without access to Wi-Fi can visit local businesses or libraries with internet and enter their home address as having no available service, according to the press release.

Coleman advises disconnecting everything from the internet except for the device where the test is taking place.

“We need as many Kentuckians as possible to take this internet speed test, to get an accurate picture of who has adequate internet access across the state,” Beshear said. “The more speed tests taken, the better understanding we will have of our state’s internet capabilities, and the better prepared we will be to repair and expand it.”

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