Eastern Kentucky and the Appalachian Region in general have suffered major setbacks with the decline of the coal industry, leaving many jobless. A new initiative, Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) wants to bring high speed internet infrastructure to Eastern Kentucky in order to make the area more attractive for startup companies and other technological ventures, creating a “Silicon Holler”.
More from the Washington Times:
Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, says 34 percent of houses in rural Kentucky can’t access internet service without the minimum federal broadband standard download speed of 25 megabytes per second. Leaders hope to change that by bringing cable and high-speed network poles to the region.
Officials further hope high-speed internet can help supplant lost coal jobs. The group Bit Source employs former coal miners and teaches them to code.
Coal production in the area is at its lowest point since the Great Depression, so changes do need to be made. Will high speed internet access be a quick cure-all? Probably not. But it couldn’t hurt.