Average internet service download speed was 4.6 mbps in 2009, putting Kentucky below the national average in 30th place. This was an improvement of six places on the previous year when the average speed was 3.5 mbps. In 2007, around one third of residents had no internet access of any sort, some 40% having a home broadband service and 14% still getting dial-up from their ISP.
Kentucky has to some degree led the way in mapping broadband internet services, which has become common in the US. It founded non-profit organization Connect Kentucky in 2004 to increase broadband availability. The organization developed a detailed map of broadband availability, showing DSL, fiber optic cable, satellite and wireless internet access services to detailed level. Around $7 million in state funds was spent between 2004 and 2007.
Several bills were introduced in 2006, aiming to provide 100% high speed broadband coverage by 2007. One of these deregulated most retail telephone services so that telephone providers could compete equally with internet providers. There are claims that 100% coverage has been achieved although this is disputed by many and hasn't led to 100% take-up.
The Connect Kentucky initiative led to the formation of Connected Nation, which worked in other states using a similar model. Despite questions being raised about internet provider involvement in the project, it has put Kentucky at the forefront of development and other initiatives have followed. These include a program to establish a satellite broadband service for farmers, a 'Coal to Broadband' program to bring broadband to eastern Kentucky and some towns building their own networks. AT&T announced in December 2009 that it was expending its 3G wifi network in Richmond, bringing its total investment in Kentucky between 2006 and 2008 to $525 million.
The "Bluegrass State" is perhaps best known for breeding thoroughbred race horses, which is a result of the soil's calcium content making the pastures particularly productive. Rural Kentucky has more farms per square mile than anywhere else in the nation, with cattle, corn and soybeans being the main output. It is ranked fourth among US states for automobile and truck assembly and has one of the most productive coalfields in the country.
The climate is humid subtropical with monthly average high temperatures all being above freezing. The state capital is Frankfort and the four largest cities are Louisville, Lexington, Owensboro and Bowling Green.
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Cities in Kentucky likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Louisville, Lexington, Owensboro, Bowling Green, Covington and Frankfort. Locations in KY with highest population counts will be targeted first by providers, though relatively high speeds can be achieved with dial-up or DSL through companies such as Netzero and Charter Communications Cable.