Charter Communications, which operates in Warren County as the Spectrum cable television, phone and internet service provider, plans to use federal funds to expand its broadband internet service to nearly 1,600 of the county’s homes where broadband service isn’t now available.
But just how quickly the fiber optic cable will make its way to homes in rural areas of the county is unknown.
Charter Senior Director of Government Affairs Jason Keller joined the Feb. 12 online meeting of Warren Fiscal Court to tell the magistrates about plans to use $1.2 million in federal support to expand its broadband service in the county.
Spectrum’s current service area is limited largely to the urbanized part of the county. Keller said the expansion will reach about 1,588 more homes in rural areas.
It’s part of what Charter described in a news release as a broadband buildout initiative to deliver high-speed broadband access to more than 1 million unserved customer locations nationwide.
Charter expects to invest about $5 billion to support its buildout initiative – offset by $1.2 billion in support from the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.
Keller said $58 million of the federal funding will be used to expand broadband to 31,747 Kentucky homes that don’t have access to high-speed internet today.
“We’ve been in Warren County a long time, operating as Time Warner and Insight and now as Spectrum,” Keller said. “We’ve been working to expand our footprint in the county. The expansion is getting ready to accelerate.”
But those unserved county residents shouldn’t expect to be seeing cable being run to their homes anytime soon.
“We have a couple of regulatory things we have to get through first,” Keller said. “Our folks are working toward that and toward getting the engineering done.
“We’ll try to have shovels in the ground next year. We want to get it out there because we know people need it.”
A news release said the network Charter will build in these rural areas will offer speeds of 200 megabits per second up to 1,000 megabits per second, or gigabit service.
Keller didn’t offer information on pricing, saying only that Charter has “uniform pricing across the country.”
According to the Spectrum.com website, the company offers its 200-megabit internet-only service for $49.99 per month. Prices vary depending on promotions and bundling with other services.
Keller didn’t know which specific streets were scheduled to be served by the high-speed cable. His presentation to fiscal court included a map that showed service being extended to the Anna community and areas around Bristow, Hadley and Woodburn.
Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon, who has said that he regularly fields calls asking about the availability of high-speed internet, told Keller: “This is good news, but it’s not good news that it’s not going to happen overnight.”
“Everybody is anxious to get service,” Keller responded. “We’ll keep you posted as we get a timeline.”
As Spectrum makes plans to expand its service in the county, another company with a non-exclusive franchise agreement to provide cable and internet service in the county has been busy rolling out broadband service to some rural areas.
North Central Communications Inc., a subsidiary of Lafayette, Tenn.-based NCTC, has started serving customers in parts of the Alvaton and Boyce communities.
A partnership between Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. and NCTC, which was announced in 2019, originally was intended to bring broadband internet service to nearly 800 homes that currently have no high-speed access.
Fiscal court, using funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, voted last October to allocate $300,000 toward expanding the WRECC-NCTC initiative.
WRECC Director of Communication and Public Relations Kim Phelps said the extra funding should allow NCTC to extend service to about 350 more WRECC members.
– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.