Knight Foundation Awards $550,000 to Expand Wireless Network in Lexington, Kentucky

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced a $550,000 grant to the Blue Grass Community Foundation to help expand and reactivate a broadband wireless network in Lexington, Kentucky.

Supported in part by $1.1 million in state and federal public safety grants awarded to the city and the Fayette County Sheriff's Office, the network will be expanded beyond the downtown business district to include several underserved areas of Lexington. Scheduled to be operational by the summer, the network will help improve communication for police, fire, and sheriff's officers, who will have immediate access to key databanks while in the field.

The effort will be jointly administered by a public-private partnership that includes the city, the state, the University of Kentucky, the Knight Foundation, and the Blue Grass Community Foundation, which will work to encourage citizens to participate in the network.

"When the interstates came into communities in the 1950s and '60s they had a profound impact, supporting economic development and improving citizens' access to much of the country," said Lexington mayor Jim Newberry. "The same is true for the impact of broadband, the information superhighway. It will give businesses a tool that is essential to successfully compete in the global marketplace and it will give many citizens a tool that is essential to successfully compete in the classroom and in the workforce."

"Expanded Broadband Network to Serve Public Safety, Cover Underserved Areas in Lexington." John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Press Release 01/05/2010.