NewsPublic Affairs / September 6, 2016

State Cell Tower Lease Could Dial Up $260M In Revenue

State Cell Tower Lease Could Dial Up $260M In Revenue

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana announced a deal Tuesday to lease unused state cell towers and use the money to pay for the Bicentennial projects. The agreement will also help expand broadband access in some rural areas.

The Indiana Finance Authority approved an agreement on the potential 50-year lease – renewable after the first 25 years – for unused cell tower capacity between the state and Ohio-based Agile Networks. The deal is expected to yield the state $260 million over the life of the lease. Agile will pay $50 million up front and share a percentage of the revenues generated by the towers with the state.

Agile founder Kyle Quillen says his company plans to expand broadband coverage into unserved or underserved areas of the state.

“There’s a lot of infrastructure assets that have been built for government in general that the private sector doesn’t really utilize,” Quillen says.

The final contract must still be negotiated, then approved by the Finance Authority and the State Budget Committee. The two sides anticipate that final approval within the next two months – and Quillen says he hopes to complete the broadband expansion within a year.

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