Crews battle weather for progress

A frigid, wet winter slowed fiber crews in December and January, but the end of WK&T’s fiber buildout is within sight.

Current estimates predict work on the last of the main fiber network lines will be finished in mid-April.

Westley Belcher runs fiber along Old Olive Road near Benton, Ky.

Westley Belcher runs fiber along Old Olive Road near Benton, Ky.

“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” says engineering supervisor Sam Stitcher. “It’s like the song in ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ — we had a long way to go and a short time to get there -— but we will make it. It has been quite an experience.”

Through the first week of February, contractors had installed 2,050 miles of mainline fiber. The final mileage will be around 2,166 miles. That leaves about 166 miles to go, at about 10 to 12 miles built each week.

The work should be finished before its three-year mark, which would be June 6.

The majority of the work is now taking place in the exchanges near Kentucky Lake including Fairdealing, New Concord, and Cypress, Tenn.

“We believe the new service will be well worth the wait,” Stitcher says.

Folsomdale: All mainline fiber is finished, but about 40 drops to homes remain unfinished.

Hardin: All fiber work is complete and customers are being connected daily.

Kirksey: Installation of fiber in the “CO” zone is complete and the “Cold Water” zone is 87 percent complete. This exchange was expected to be ready for service installations in late February.

Lynn Grove: Installation of mainline fiber is complete. We estimate Lynn Grove to be open for service in late February.

Cypress: The mainline fiber is about 79 percent complete, and drops are 30 percent complete. Cypress should be open for service in March.

Fairdealing: Mainline fiber is about 83 percent complete, while the drops are 46 percent complete. Fairdealing is expected to be open for installations in late March.

New Concord: New Concord will be the last exchange to be ready for service.  Currently, mainline fiber is 30 percent complete and drop installations have not begun.  Service installations for New Concord will not be available until April or May.

ESPN3 and WK&T bring members 300 free basketball games

By Andy Johns

PrintMost basketball fans — especially fans in Kentucky — can’t get enough hoops action. With this in mind, WK&T is happy to provide ESPN3 and its thousands of live sporting events to our Internet customers.

The ESPN name is synonymous with top-notch sports coverage, and ESPN3 is the network’s online home for programming that won’t fit on its cable channels.

bigstock_Laptop_4532499“ESPN3 is an extra bonus for being a WK&T customer,” says Michael Lee, product and sales manager for the cooperative. “It’s something I think a lot of folks may not know about, but once they find it, I think they will enjoy the options.”

Programming includes college football, basketball and baseball, the X Games, the World Series of Poker, the Little League World Series, golf, tennis, auto racing, soccer and other sports. In all, the sports network claims ESPN3 has featured millions of hours of online sports, including more than 400 college football games, 1,400 college basketball games and 1,600 hours of tennis major coverage.

ESPN is also working on new features for ESPN3, like research notes, key play indicators, chat and other modules designed to enhance the viewing experience.

They have also opened up ESPN3 to Xbox Live users. “The amount of programming and variety of sports ESPN3 offers is amazing,” Lee says. “But I think here in Kentucky, basketball is going to be the biggest thing people are looking for.”

bigstock-Group-Of-Friends-Looking-At-A--43071676Individual games are subject to change, but the 2013-14 college basketball lineup features 300 games, including heavyweights like Kentucky, Louisville, Duke, Florida, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Pitt, North Carolina, Memphis and Kansas.

Many ESPN or ESPN2 programs not offered live on ESPN3 are available for replay as early as the conclusion of the event.

  •  ESPN3 is available to all WK&T Internet subscribers at www.espn3.com.
  • ESPN recommends a connection speed of at least 768 Kbps, but the picture quality will improve with faster connections.
  • For technical support, review the frequently asked questions on the ESPN3 site or call 888-549-ESPN.

Disclaimer: Blackout restrictions on some live events apply. ESPN3 is separate from the WatchESPN mobile app, which requires a cable, IPTV or satellite connection from certain providers. WK&T is unable to offer that service at this time. 

364 area code and 10-digit dialing begin Feb. 1

By now, you should have read or heard about West Kentucky adding the new 364 area code to our existing 270, and how this will affect the way you dial phone numbers.

Feb. 1, these changes will go into effect.

The new code, which is being implemented to meet the demands for more telephone numbers in our region, will require all West Kentucky telephone users to dial either 270 or 364 before every phone call. This is known as 10-digit dialing.

After Feb. 1, seven-digit calls without the area code will not be connected. All existing numbers will use the 270 code.

If you have any questions, please call WK&T customer service at 1-877-954-8748.

Zones, exchanges and remotes

Understanding the geography of WK&T’s fiber build

By Jan. 1, crews are expected to have placed 1,975 miles of fiber, and completed construction in 16 of the 22 exchanges including Hardin, Folsomdale, Lynn Grove and “zones” in Fairdealing. Work is underway on the remaining seven exchanges and 52 percent of WK&T’s broadband subscribers are on the new Flite fiber optic network.

 A crew installs underground conduit in the Lynn Grove exchange.


A crew installs underground conduit in the Lynn Grove exchange.

Sometimes, members ask why certain areas in a community may have fiber service before others. The answer, like almost everything in the planning and execution of this multi-million dollar investment, is complicated.

In larger exchanges such as Fairdealing and New Concord, engineers have set up as many as nine zones inside the exchanges. This is a carryover from the remotes used on the old copper network. Under the old system, a single fiber line ran from the central office to a remote, and copper lines ran from the remote to dozens of nearby homes and businesses. WK&T originally had 232 remotes around the region, usually small white metal buildings with blue roofs. All but 29 of them will be torn down and replaced by a system that sends a fiber line to each member. To sum it up, the new system will provide faster, more dependable service to our members, while cutting down on maintenance for WK&T.

Crews are building the new network based geographically on this zone and remote system. This makes the process more economical and allows WK&T to connect individual zones inside an exchange, rather than having to wait until the full exchange is finished before cutting anyone over to Flite service.