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Next steps announced in broadband project

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky officials have announced the next steps in a project to build a high-speed broadband network across the state.

Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers say two requests for proposals are being issued to develop high-speed Internet access to the farthest reaches of the state. Increasing broadband access in eastern Kentucky is a main focus.

One RFP is seeking private partners to build, operate and maintain a statewide open-access, high-speed broadband network.

The state says a complementary RFP seeking equity partners for the project will be released soon.

The project's initial phase is expected to take two years to build. It will include more than 3,000 miles of fiber infrastructure.

Kentucky ranks 46th in high-speed broadband Internet availability. Nearly a quarter of the state's population has no access to broadband.

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