Boone County Library

Cincinnati Bell has inked a broadband public private partnership deal with Boone County in Kentucky, which is a part of suburban Cincinnati. The $43.6 million deal will expand gigabit capable fiber to 40K addresses.

Terms of this latest broadband public private partnership have Boone County committing $13.6 million to match Cincinnati Bell’s investment of more than $30 million. The deal will bring fiber availability to every location in the county, according to a press release.

“Delivering access for every address in the County to high-speed service is critical in creating a high quality of life environment and positioning our county as a community of choice for residents and businesses,” said Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore in the press release. “The partnership with Cincinnati Bell will leverage significant private capital investment that would not have been made without the commitment of the Fiscal Court, solidifying our position at the forefront of economic development [and] innovation and focusing on the needs of our citizens.”

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Boone County, Kentucky sits just to the southwest of Cincinnati and is the northernmost county in Kentucky. Total population of the county as of 2015 was 131K.

Under the terms of the partnership, Cincinnati Bell well expand its fiber network to 40K business and consumer addresses, including single family and multiple dwelling units. Additionally, Cincinnati Bell’s smart city unit, UniCity will invest $500K in Boone County’s public Wi-Fi infrastructure.

Cincinnati Bell also agreed to offer discounted broadband service to qualified K-12 students in Boone County as well as other subsidized broadband programs based on availability.

Broadband public private partnership deals are on the rise as both individual communities and service providers aim to expand better broadband to the unserved and underserved. Communities are increasingly looking to partner to expand broadband access or do it themselves.

These partnerships can take on multiple forms. Some are strictly funding commitments, while others get creative with infrastructure. The city of West Des Moines, Iowa is attempting to build an open access conduit network, and invited Google Fiber to be its first tenant. Competitor Mediacom is suing to halt this arrangement though.

Many service providers, large and small, are embracing broadband public private partnership deals as well. Consolidated Communications has been active on this front in its Northeast territory.

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