LINCOLN TRAIL BROADBAND INITIATIVE
A PARTNERSHIP WITH TELECAST COMMUNICATIONS, LLC
BRINGING AFFORDABLE HIGH-SPEED INTERNET TO RURAL LARUE COUNTY AND SURROUNDING AREAS
ABOUT THE INITIATIVE
Rural LaRue County, Kentucky is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes and most peaceful places In the State of Kentucky; acres of beautiful farmland, healthy crops as far as the eye can see, curvy backroads, and more. However, the broadband availability In these areas leaves much to be desired for families who work from home, stream their sources of entertainment, and have businesses In these areas.
Problem #1 - Many rural areas of LaRue County, Kentucky do not have access to a minimum of 25Mbps download speeds and 3Mbps, which allows an area to be defined as "served" In accordance to the FCC.
Problem #2 - With many of these rural areas, homes and businesses are spread out far and few between. In some areas, you can go nearly a mile between houses, making fiber-optic deployments expensive and cost-prohibitive.
Problem #3 - Even though these rural areas may only have access to ancient DSL technology, providers still choose to charge outrageous prices for a service that may not even be useful. In some areas of the county, providers are charging as much as $90 per month for sub-10Mbps Internet service, which Is completely unacceptable.
LET'S SOLVE THESE ISSUES.
Creating partnerships In a small community like ours Is an essential part of reaching our goal to serve rural communities In LaRue and surrounding counties. We've partnered with the following organizations and entities to make this happen:
LaRue County Fiscal Court
The City of Hodgenville
Ryan Bivens with Fresh Start Farms
Caleb Ragland with Shady Rest Farms
Clint Williamson with J.V. Williamson Farms
LaRue County Water District
Jill and Bob Wade with Back Forty Farms (Sonora)
The Reding Family with Homestead Family Farms (Howardstown)
Peppers Farm (Hodgenville/Glendale)
and many more Individuals
WHO ARE WE? WHAT DO WE DO?
Telecast Communications, LLC Is a fixed-wireless Internet service provider focused on serving the rural areas of LaRue County. Utilizing the latest In fixed-wireless technology from a variety of manufacturers, we have formed partnerships with local businesses, farms, and organizations to have access to a variety of vertical Infrastructure In our community.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we realized that many people would have to start working from home. With that, we knew that many backroads areas of the county was severely lacking when It came to broadband availability and reliability. Through our Initial partnership with The LaRue County Fiscal Court under leadership from Judge Executive Tommy Turner, they allowed us to test this theory of using fixed-wireless access points up on a tower to "shoot" a wireless signal out Into some of these areas In question. From there, we mounted a small directional antenna on the outside of some homes we were testing this with and Installed a high-performance wireless router capable of the speeds we hoped to deliver.
Our first test customer was approximately three miles line-of-sight to that tower with a clear line of sight to where our device was mounted. After we connected, aligned, and configured it, our first SpeedTest result showed a whopping 186Mbps download speed and an Impressive 133Mbps upload speed. It was at that point that we realized we could completely change the landscape for rural Internet connectivity.
From there, we began adding equipment on a grain elevator between Hodgenville and Sonora at Fresh Start Farms. We utilized a point-to-point wireless link to provide connectivity to that site as well, and a number of additional sites following the completion of that site.
The advantage of fixed wireless access (FWA) technology Is the ability to rapidly expand our coverage areas, build new sites, and connect customers In a matter of days rather than the months or years that coax and fiber-optics would take to plan, construct, and connect customers to. Our basic tower equipment can supply a 100Mbps connection to any home or business that Is line-of-sight to one of our sites, and a guaranteed 30Mbps for near-line-of-sight customers to specific sites.
Fast forward to today, we have a total of fourteen tower sites In LaRue County and service a total of 312 customers across Greater LaRue County and Hart County.
LET'S TALK STATISTICS.
In March of 2020, we conducted a survey In the northern part of LaRue County on the broadband statistics of what Is "advertised", what Is offered, and what was received, as well as where It was available and not available at, along with the overall quality of the service.
We found that 72% of the northern part of the county (classified as anywhere north of Nationwide Uniform Corporation on Shepherdsville Road) did not have access to a minimum of 25Mbps download speeds and 3Mbps upload speed. Today, that number has decreased to 34%, a 38% decrease In underserved homes and businesses.
We found that 28% of those 72% without access to the 25/3 standard didn't even meet a 10Mbps down and 1Mbps up standard, which Is considered "unserved" by the FCC. Today, that number has decreased to 17%, an 11% decrease.
We found that nearly 87% of homes and businesses reported that their Internet was unstable during peak hours and would often have to reboot their router to restore connectivity. It was also noted that during heavy rains, their service would slow to a crawl or stop working all together until the rain stopped. For those that we service In the northern part of the county, we have observed a 99.998% uptime for our service.
County-wide, 79% of our 309 customers were In areas that were considered "unserved", meaning they did not have access to a minimum of 10/1 service.
Comparing our customer's previous providers to our service, when looking at price-per-megabit metrics, on average, our company Is 68% less expensive per megabit of speed than the existing provider option(s) they had available to them. This Includes LTE services as well from Verion, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
CHECK OUT A FEW OF OUR SITES.
LaRue County EMS Tower
Our primary tower site, located In central Hodgenville, provides uplink connectivity for all our LaRue County Network sites.
NEW - Clyde Farms
Located at the Intersection of Hwy 210 and Hwy 470, this site can see for miles around and Is one of our new high-capacity sites. Featured on WHAS11.
Industrial Park Water Tower
Located on Old Etown Road, this site helps bring our service to the center-north and western part of the county.
Roanoke Water Tower
Sitting on top of Cissal Hill, this site allows us to serve the north-eastern part of the county, and In the future, the New Hope area.