Community Profile:

Lexington, KY: the Largest Gigabit City in the Country.

With a major research institution (the University of Kentucky) at its doorstep, Lexington boasts a high number of degreed professionals, a booming rate of entrepreneurship, a low cost of living, and outsized art and culture sector. It’s a combination that attracts research-based startups, advanced-technology industries, professional services, and corporations looking for a home. Lexington, once known as the “Horse Capital of the World,” is currently adding to its human population at a faster pace than ever before.

It makes perfect sense that the next step for this growing city would be technology-based. And in the spirit of Kentucky’s legendary sports tradition, that next step is taking the form of a giant, innovative leap. Lexington is set to become the nation’s largest gigabit city following an agreement with Evansville, Indiana-based MetroNet to construct a citywide fiber-optic network offering coverage throughout the city’s Urban Services Area. This will create access for both residential and commercial customers, including schools, libraries, hospitals, research facilities, technology companies, and more.

Lexington’s current average internet speed is around 16.2 megabits per second. With the new technology, customers will be able to experience the internet at 1,000 megabits per second (no, that is not a typo). To put it into perspective, in the past it would have taken a Lexingtonian 30 minutes to download a 90-minute high definition movie. With gigabit internet, downloading the same movie at one-gigabit speed could take just 30 seconds. For local small businesses, this means an opportunity to run more processes in the cloud, saving on capital investment costs and reducing the need for on-site IT hardware maintenance. In addition to the customer benefit, the new high-speed capabilities will help Lexington retain and attract high-tech jobs.

MetroNet is beginning to provide providing internet, telephone, and television services to local customers. Now, it’s up to the city’s innovation officials (and technology-minded citizens) to envision and bring to life all the ways in which this network can be leveraged for the good of Lexington residents.

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