FRANKFORT, Ky. — “I would recommend this to anybody,” says Karen Wotier, one of the first users of KentuckyWired – the state-owned, high-speed fiber optic cable network going into government offices in all 120 Kentucky counties. Wotier is the building manager for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) branch location in Owenton. It was the first office to transition to KentuckyWired in December.
“With our old system, when we opened up in the morning – even with just one person here – after 10 or 15 minutes, that little circle was still spinning on my computer screen,” Wotier said. “Now, with KentuckyWired, [the pages I need] come right up. It’s amazing.”
Wotier remembered that previously, it was difficult for the CHFS staff in Owenton to get their work done because of a slow and weak internet connection. Her computer system would often crash around 2 or 3 p.m., during their busiest time of the day.
“The system just could not handle a lot of people in this office. We had case workers who could not do what they needed to do to assist Kentucky families.”
Their previous internet provider was unable to help.
“They would come in and try different things – add this or that – but nothing worked. We were slow. We couldn’t get the cases done.”
Originally, when Wotier heard about KentuckyWired, she was skeptical.
“As they were building it they would say it was going to be much faster. And I thought, ‘Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it.’ But once it was completed, we saw a big difference.”
Cara Allnutt, a CHFS family support specialist in the same building, agrees with Wotier, “It used to take forever with all of us trying to log on at the same time. And now we’re excited that everything works the way it’s supposed to. It absolutely helps us serve our community better. I’m glad we could get something that works in this rural area.”
The CHFS office in Owenton is the first of approximately 900 state government sites being transitioned to KentuckyWired by October 2020. Kentucky will be the first state in the nation to build an open access, middle mile, high-speed fiber optic network in every county.
More information about KentuckyWired can be found at the KCNA website, https://kentuckywired.ky.gov.