Request for Information Released for Broadband Project:
the Next Generation Kentucky Information Highway
Vendors encouraged to respond, help set direction for high-capacity fiber infrastructure development

FRANKFORT, Ky. – (April 16, 2014) – The Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet has released a request for information (RFI) to determine what interest companies, municipal utilities and electric cooperatives have in working with the state on providing middle-mile fiber backbone infrastructure for high-capacity network connectivity – which will allow homes and businesses to access high-speed broadband Internet reliably.

This RFI is the next step in gathering information to move the Next Generation Kentucky Information Highway project forward.

On Jan. 22, Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers announced the broadband initiative, also dubbed “the Super I-way”, which will bring modern fiber infrastructure to all areas of Kentucky. In partnership with the Center for Rural Development, the first phase of the Next Generation broadband project will take place in parts of eastern Kentucky, which is the most underserved area of the Commonwealth.

The push for reliable, accessible high-speed broadband is one recommendation that emerged from SOAR, the “Shaping Our Appalachian Region” initiative that seeks to move Kentucky’s Appalachian region forward.

“Today, only about half of Kentucky’s households use broadband Internet service, and nearly one-quarter can’t access broadband at all,” Gov. Beshear said. “We’re going to fix that with an ambitious plan to extend broadband access, initially focusing on eastern Kentucky.”

“We envision strong partnerships with providers that could fulfill multiple roles in the deployment, operation and management of the network,” said Kentucky Finance and Administration Secretary Lori H. Flanery. “Both profit and nonprofit vendors are strongly encouraged to respond to this RFI. The information we receive will help us as we develop the business case and determine the direction of future requests for proposals (RFPs).”

A vendor conference will be held on April 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Auditorium, 200 Mero Street, Frankfort, KY.  RFI responses are due on or before 4:30 p.m. on May 7, 2014.

The project, estimated to cost approximately $100 million, will take two to three years to build approximately 3,000 miles of fiber infrastructure. Initial funding for the Next Generation project is included in House Bill 235 and consists of $30 million in bond funds, $20 million in federal funds and $20 million of funds from private partners.

Kentucky ranks 46th in broadband availability and 23 percent of rural areas in Kentucky do not have access to broadband. The Next Generation broadband project will provide modern high-capacity fiber infrastructure to enable businesses to compete globally, educators to expand their use of rich teaching resources, students to access the knowledge of world, health care facilities to share electronic medical records and first responders to communicate easily in emergency situations

The RFI is available at https://emars.ky.gov/online/vss/AltSelfService. The RFI is called “Statewide Middle Mile Fiber Optic Infrastructure” and is solicitation #1400000009.

All responses, questions and inquiries concerning the RFI should be directed in writing to the Commonwealth Buyer of record:

Sharon Purvis, Buyer
Finance and Administration Cabinet
Room 195, Capitol Annex
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Phone:  (502) 564-8096
FAX:  (502) 564-9557




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