AT&T tapped for $39.6M public-private fiber expansion in Indiana

AT&T beat out several competitors to win a nearly $40 million public-private partnership deal designed to bring almost ubiquitous fiber coverage to Vanderburgh County, Indiana.

The project aims to cover more than 20,000 homes and businesses across the county and will be fueled by a joint investment, with AT&T contributing $29.7 million and the county an additional $9.9 million. Construction is expected to take two years once a final contract with the county has been signed.

At a recent meeting of the Vanderburgh Board of County Commissioners, Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave said public funding will be made available through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Officials at the meeting noted AT&T’s plan was chosen from among four proposals submitted for the project, adding the next step is to ink a final contract to execute the plan. They said the operator’s all-fiber proposal would blanket nearly the entire county with broadband and deliver symmetrical speeds of up to 2 Gbps for residential customers and 5 Gbps for businesses.

In a press release, AT&T pointed out about a third of the county’s population currently lacks access to fixed broadband.

Asked about its views on public-private partnerships, AT&T told Fierce “By working together, AT&T and municipalities can connect even more people.”

The operator didn’t say whether it plans to pursue additional public-private partnerships like the one in Vanderburgh County. However, other operators are already on board with the public-private partnership model.

RELATED: Consolidated spotlights 5G, public-private partnership potential

In March, Consolidated Communications struck a $13 million public-private partnership deal with three towns in New Hampshire to expand its fiber-to-the-premises network there. In April, Consolidated CEO Bob Udell pointed to such arrangements as a key tool in expanding rural broadband.