A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Commentary: KentuckyWired part of the Obama administration’s war on the Internet


By Drew Johnson
Special to KyForward

The Bluegrass State is already reeling from the Obama administration’s war on coal. Now the people of the Commonwealth are preparing to feel the sting of ObamaNet, the administration’s attempt to seize control of the Internet.

Just as President Obama used the Environmental Protection Agency as a means to shutter most coal-fired power plants in the U.S. – and devastate Kentucky’s coal country – he is now using the Federal Communications Commission to sneak the Internet under the thumb of federal regulators.

That’s why Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), attended the Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative (SOAR) Summit in Pikeville on Monday.

When Wheeler isn’t inventing special rules for some of the Obama administration’s largest campaign donors – like Google and Facebook – or suffocating Internet Service Providers with socialist-style price controls, the FCC chairman is pushing state and municipal governments to get in the Internet business.

Oftentimes, the federal government even bribes state and local leaders to build government-owned Internet schemes with federal tax dollars.

Wheeler will pitch his vision for Kentucky’s communist-flavored government-owned Internet boondoggle by advocating pouring additional resources into the floundering KentuckyWired program.

KentuckyWired is envisioned as a 3,400-mile fiber optic cable infrastructure aimed at bringing broadband service to the doorsteps of communities that don’t have it. The program was sold as a necessity by former Gov. Steve Beshear, who claimed that too few Kentuckians had access to the web and maligned the commonwealth for ranking towards the bottom in Internet download speeds.

But the boondoggle was built on a set of falsehoods and fabrications.

In reality, 93 percent of Kentuckians already have access to wireline broadband service, and more than 99 percent can get online via wireless Internet providers. Contrary to Beshear’s claims, pretty much every person in the state can already get online if they want.

To make matters worse for the costly taxpayer-funded venture, KentuckyWired may not be able to keep up with changing Internet technology, possibly leaving Kentuckians with nothing but a bunch of expensive, antiquated cables to show for their investment in a few years.

And what an investment it is.

The entire project, which began construction last year, is expected to cost taxpayers $350 million – or about $180 for every family in Kentucky – when it’s complete. To make matters worse, budget officials in Frankfort calculate the state will annually fall $11 million short of making the bond payments for KentuckyWired, which may force tax increases on the state’s residents.

As a result of the dopey decision to get the government in the Internet business, taxpayers footing the bill for project that the state doesn’t need, may soon become obsolete and is hemorrhaging money.

Not that Wheeler seems to care.

The FCC chairman has been a tireless defender of failed government Internet programs that use tax dollars to allow government to compete with private providers. This scary assault on American free market values mean that more and more customers will have to go through the government, not a trusted private company, to receive their Internet.

This chilling reality of appears to be the last step in Obamanet, which has already empowered the government to track where Americans go on the Internet, limited innovation by Internet providers, created price controls on the Internet and increased the cost for the average American to get online.

Just as Obama’s war on coal left Americans paying more for energy, while limiting options for consumers and giving the government greater control of energy production in America, ObamaNet will allow government bureaucrats to dictate what Internet Service Providers Americans can use, which websites we’re allowed to visit and what we’re allowed to say online.

If President Obama and Chairman Wheeler have their way, they will stifle the greatest outlet for freedom and innovation the world has ever known – and they will use projects like KentuckyWired to do it.

Drew Johnson

Drew Johnson is the national director for Protect Internet Freedom, is a grassroots nonprofit organization of 1.6 million supporters dedicated to defending a free and open Internet.


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One Comment

  1. Bill Adkins says:

    Ok – a little research shows the source of the smell. Protect Internet Freedom is a Tea Party scam.

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