Vanderburgh County Commissioners has signed a $39.6 million contract with AT&T to build a state-of-the art fiber network that will deliver high-speed internet to unincorporated parts of the county within two years.
“High-speed internet is foundational to creating economic and educational success in rural Vanderburgh County,” said Vanderburgh County Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave. “This agreement with AT&T to build an all-fiber network is the keystone to connecting more than 20,000 of our citizens and businesses to future opportunities.”
“AT&T’s agreement with Vanderburgh County shows how private companies can successfully work with local governments to close the digital divide,” said AT&T Indiana President Bill Soards. “This project will create local jobs as we build the network and more opportunity for all once the network is complete.”
“The prospect of moving from little or no service to excellent service is a truly transformational opportunity,” said County Commission President Ben Shoulders.
“This is a big deal for our children and grandchildren. Expanding broadband in rural Vanderburgh County creates more opportunity,” said Commissioner Jeff Hatfield.
The new fiber network will be capable of delivering speeds up to 1 Gbps on both upload and download. The faster speeds and capacity mean customers can connect multiple devices, stream multiple entertainment sources, easily upload content to social media and experience ultra-low lag for pro-level gaming – all at the same time.
AT&T’s network planning is already underway with the county, and the company expects this fiber service to be available in portions of the county as early as the third quarter of next year.
AT&T will provide regular updates to county officials and its future customers. To keep residents up to date when service will be available at their address, AT&T is planning to conduct a local awareness campaign. To learn more about AT&T Fiber, citizens can visit att.com/fiber. AT&T also offers affordable options for low-income households, including Access from AT&T.
Under the terms of the contract, Vanderburgh County will be contributing $9.9 million to the project. The funds come from the American Rescue Plan Act, a federal program to provide funding to combat the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. AT&T is investing $29.7 million in the project and will own and operate the network.
Vanderburgh County’s payments will be made only when AT&T hits agreed-to milestones through the completion of the project in late 2023.
Vanderburgh County’s Commitment to Broadband
This project is a direct result of the 2018 Broadband Ready Ordinance, which received unanimous support. Vanderburgh County was one of the first in the state to achieve this designation. The ordinance removed barriers by creating a 10-day permitting process and creating tax exemption for new broadband investment.
This fiber project follows earlier broadband actions taken by the Vanderburgh County Commission, including active pursuit of state grants and devoting local Tax Increment Finance District dollars to improve access in a northwestern portion of the county.