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Letter to the editor

Working on it Editor, The Sun: Recently, much publicity has been given to negotiations we have had with KentuckyWired officials. The issues surrounding this are complicated and require a detailed explanation. KentuckyWired is a $360 million statewide project that that runs a fiber optic network across the state. This fiber will be run to colleges, universities, and courthouses. Connecting KCTCS headquarters into the statewide system is important and necessary for them. The idea was started by Congressman Hal Rogers as a way to supply much needed high-speed Internet to the Appalachian region of Kentucky. This technology is vital to economic development efforts and a world class education system. KentuckyWired will not, however, directly serve residential customers or business. The "last mile," or the connection to homes and businesses, is to be provided in the future by a private company or local government. It would require a substantial investment and is unlikely to happen in our part of the state, where there is already an abundance of providers currently in the market. It is important to note that this fiber will go in the rights-of-way of Versailles. This property is owned by the residents of Versailles and the access to, as well as the future maintenance of that right-of-way, is the responsibility of city council and our public works department. It is not something we take lightly. For instance, Time Warner and Windstream, two providers of high-speed Internet, were required to negotiate a franchise agreement with the Versailles City Council before utilizing our rights-of-way, as have other companies such as KU and Columbia Gas. This is not an uncommon practice. In fact, Sections 163 and 164 of the Kentucky Constitution have required great care in that process for the past 125 years. Further, the concerns we are attempting to negotiate with KentuckyWired officials are similar to those brought up by other communities like Lexington, Berea, and others. The largest impact we are trying to protect the citizens of Versailles from is the potential of many new unsightly "poles" being added. Utilizing existing poles is fine; however, having some control on future additions is preferable. Other cities in Kentucky have had serious problems with significant unregulated new poles being added from other providers when not spelled out in the agreement. The issues are simple, but they are important enough to be taken seriously. I am reminded of when Versailles began the task of running water to households that had no access to it. The city had to negotiate routes, pay landowners and face numerous delays. The potential for abuse of access to property - whether publicly or privately owned - is real and must be protected against. Versailles is represented by the same capable counsel used by Lexington and other cities and has tried to finalize these negotiations. The counsel has authorized me to sign an agreement that protects the interests of the citizens of Versailles and gives KentuckyWired the access they need. We stand ready to meet with state officials to resolve the very few remaining areas of disagreement. Mayor Brian Traugott Versailles

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