By Brian Santo
Frustrated with the “dismal” level of high-speed Internet access available to local residents and businesses, the state of Kentucky has engaged Macquarie Capital to finance and oversee the construction of a fiber backbone that would extend throughout the state.
The project could cost anywhere from $250 million to $350 million. The state said the project will be paid for up front by leveraging private capital at no additional cost to Kentucky taxpayers.
Macquarie will be footing most of the bill. Kentucky plans to sell approximately $30 million in state bonds to support the project. Another $15 million to $20 million is expected to come in the form of grants from the Federal Government.
“If we were to rely solely on state government funding to get this project off the ground, it would take years, if not decades. Those kinds of tax dollars just aren’t available,” said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. “In this technology-dependent economy, we can’t afford to wait another minute. That’s why this partnership is so valuable – it ramps up this project to the speed of the private sector without any additional burden on our taxpayers.”
Macquarie Capital has already engaged a group of companies that includes First Solutions, Fujitsu Network Communications, Black & Veatch, and Bowlin Group, to design, develop and operate the network over the next 30 years.