A public-private partnership between Windstream and Lumpkin County, Georgia, will provide fiber broadband to about 8,200 addresses, according to the service provider.

The cost of the project will be $20.4 million and it is expected to be completed next year.

Windstream is investing $13.5 million and will cover any cost overruns. The county will contribute $6.9 million that it is getting from three federal sources: the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program.

The main communities covered by the project are Dahlonega, Garland, Auraria and Nimblewill.

“We at Kinetic are thrilled to bring our ultrafast, reliable fiber connectivity and best-in-class internet experience to homes, businesses and schools here in Lumpkin County,” Michael Foor, the president of operations for Windstream’s Kinetic business unit in Georgia, said in a press release. “This important county deserves exceptional internet — high-speed fiber broadband that will meet the county’s evolving demands for business, educational and personal use.”

The Windstream public-private partnership with Lumpkin County is typical of public-private partnerships since the American Rescue Plan Act allotted funding to U.S. counties for infrastructure investment. Typically the county awards some or all of its ARPA funding to the provider to help cover construction costs, and the provider retains network ownership and is responsible for customer relationships.

Prior to ARPA, however, public-private partnerships often took a different form. One example is a public-private partnership between Windstream and an electric cooperative in Georgia.

That project, which was announced in October 2021, was between the service provider and Sumter EMC. The plan was to bring fiber broadband to 16,000 homes and businesses in a rural area in the southeastern region of the state. Under the partnership, Windstream would deploy about 1,000 miles of fiber across 11 counties. The utility poles used belong to Sumter EMC and Windstream said the companies would have an ongoing relationship.

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