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Vanderburgh County in Indiana is part of an AT&T public-private broadband project to bring AT&T fiber to 20K locations in the county. The project is expected to take two years to complete.

About one-third of Vanderburgh County residents lack access to fixed broadband, AT&T says county records reveal. The $39 million project includes a $9.9 million investment from the county, with AT&T picking up $29.7 million.

“With one-third of the population of unincorporated Vanderburgh County without access to fixed broadband solutions, we’re acting swiftly to end the digital divide,” said Cheryl Musgrave, Commissioner, Vanderburgh County in a prepared statement. “Working with AT&T will bring our residents fast broadband speeds using an efficient public-private model.”

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This AT&T public-private project still needs final funding approval from the County, which will trigger finalization of a contract between the two parties. No terms have been disclosed.

Public-private partnerships are growing in momentum, as cities, towns, and localities look to ensure their communities have the adequate broadband infrastructure and are willing to put up funds to accomplish it. Increasingly, incumbent carriers like AT&T are interested in partnering.

While AT&T hasn’t been very active on this front, other carriers, large and small, have been. Consolidated Communications has been quite active. Windstream is beginning to warm up.

Smaller carriers are quite active as well, with WCVT of Vermont the latest example. Upstarts and overbuilders frequently seek public-private partnerships, sometimes causing lawsuits.

Incumbents haven’t historically embraced these partnerships because they sometimes introduce competition into the market. Lately though, it seems incumbents have come around, and now see it as an opportunity to defend territory or grow outside of it.

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