In today's ever-changing world, the Internet is a gateway to prosperity, opportunity and achievement.
That's why Tom Eblen's recent column raised a number of important technology-related issues that must be addressed before Kentucky can unlock its true potential. But, as the saying goes, you can't know where you're going unless you know where you've been. So it's important to understand the transformation Kentucky has made in Internet use in just a few short years.
The data show that Kentucky has room to improve in the areas of Internet speeds and adoption but, as important, it also indicates that our commonwealth is on the right track.
According to the respected Internet measurement firm Akamai, at the beginning of 2008 Internet adoption in Kentucky stood at 28.5 percent and our state's average connection speed was 3.3 megabits per second (Mbps).
By 2012, adoption grew only slightly to 37.5 percent and Internet speeds still crept along at an average of 4.2 Mbps.
However, in less than two years, Kentucky has seen tremendous growth in Internet speeds and use. As Eblen notes, the latest Akamai report shows that Internet adoption has jumped to 65.3 percent in Kentucky and the average connection speed is now 7.3 Mbps.
Those increases rank Kentucky in the top five nationally in the growth of Internet adoption and speed increases during that time period.
Do these survey results indicate that Internet speeds and use in Kentucky are where they need to be? No.
But are we on the right track? Absolutely.
And when it comes to ensuring Kentucky families and businesses have access to fast Internet speeds, that upward trajectory shows no signs of slowing down.
A big part of this is due to the significant investment that Kentucky's cable providers make every year to ensure our commonwealth has the infrastructure it needs to compete. In fact, Kentucky's cable operators invest more than $100 million each year to lay new fiber optic cables, upgrade hub sites and build new facilities needed to provide families, schools and businesses with fast, reliable Internet service.
As the Internet service providers to nearly 600,000 Kentucky homes and businesses, our member companies have a vested interest in ensuring Kentucky is connected. There is more work to do to help Kentuckians take full advantage of the Internet's resources.
However, Akamai's findings clearly indicate that Kentucky is on the right path and Kentucky's cable providers will be working hard to make certain that trend continues.