Kentucky begins $250M project to improve “dismal” broadband availability

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.

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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