Poor internet connection in rural counties impacts production of local crops

You rely on the internet in your home and at work. For people in our rural counties, internet connection and speed can be a problem. Kentucky judge executives discussed the issue this week at a conference.

As a crop scout, Roger Boyd monitors 17,500 acres of different crops. Boyd needs a strong internet connection for an app he uses to find problems and fix them.

"If it’s an insect problem, you only have a short period of time to take care of the problem before damage is done. It could be a  disease problem," Boyd said.

Sometimes the internet is so slow, he can’t determine what a problem is until it’s too late.

"This is something that is challenging for not just Lyon County, but all the counties in the state of Kentucky,"said Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White.

White talked to me from a conference where he got an update on Kentucky Wired. The initiative will provide broadband access throughout the state through fiber communication.

It could be 2019 or later before Kentucky Wired comes to west Kentucky. On top of that, it only provides broadband access to judicial buildings, and from there, it’s up to the county to send it out to homes and businesses.

White is seeking companies that will run fiber throughout the county, so everyone can have access to faster internet. Boyd hopes for a solution soon, so local farmers like him can compete with out-of-state producers’ technology.

"Our area producers are getting behind curve as far as adapting to technology," Boyd said.

White says a few years ago Lyon County received a grant for wireless internet. The grant was used to bring the company Fastnet to the county. He says Fastnet is not fiber, so it only reaches so many people.

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