Underused cellphone towers to help expand broadband

Staff Report

INDIANAPOLIS — The state plans to lease cellphone towers to help increase access to broadband in rural areas and fund bicentennial projects.

According to the agreement, Ohio-based Agile Networks will pay an upfront fee of $50 million. The state then gets a share of the revenue generated, an anticipated $36 million for the first 25 years of the deal.

If the company decides to renew the deal for another 25-year agreement, it will pay Indiana an additional upfront fee of $10 million as well as an increased revenue share.

Agile Networks will use the cellphone towers to provide broadband to portions of Indiana that currently do not have access.

“Hoosiers are the big winners in this agreement, which provides revenue for important projects and expands communications opportunities throughout the state,” IFA Director Dan Huge said in a statement. “This agreement provides great value to Hoosiers by taking advantage of our currently underutilized communications assets.”

The Indiana Finance Authority board approved the agreement Tuesday. The deal now needs to be approved by the legislative budget committee.

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