The Harlan County Economic Development Authority discussed information presented at a recent Community Broadband Meeting during a meeting on Monday.
“It was a very good meeting,” Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley said. “Joanne Hovis, a consultant from Maryland, gave a very thorough presentation on what it’s going to take for communities to be ready — not just for the dark fiber initiative, but to expand broadband throughout the region as a whole.”
Mosley said Hovis spoke at length about what type of investments and strategies will be required to successfully implement broadband technology to the area.
“She mentioned some very eye-opening statistical things related to broadband,” Mosley said. “Basically what it came down to is they recommend doing one of three things.”
Mosley explained the options concern where the funding comes from.
“Sometimes a community can afford to basically be a fiber board on their own,” Mosley explained. “Sometimes there’s a private company in a community that wants to do it all. The other solution is a joint effort – a public private partnership.”
Mosley said he intends to discuss the material with the technology subcommittee at their next meeting.
“It may be that after we figure out where everybody’s at, I’d be anxious to see how the committee feels toward trying to do a community broadband planning study,” Mosley said. “We know what we’ve got, but where are we going and how’s it going to play from the standpoint of economic development.”
The panel also discussed the recent Teleworks USA hub opening.
“If you’ve not got a chance to go by there, go check it out,” Mosley said. “The facility itself is just wonderful, and we’ve staked our claim as having the nicest Teleworks hub.”
Mosley told the authority the Teleworks project was going well so far.
“It would be premature to think about expansion, but as this continues to move forward, this is something that’s going to be an economic engine in our community,” Mosley said. “It’s taking off quickly.”
In other Authority activity:
• Ken Osborne was appointed to the Harlan County Economic Development Authority Technology Subcommittee;
• It was announced the 2016 SOAR Innovation Summit is scheduled for June 6 in Pikeville.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde.