County High Speed Broadband Project on Schedule
In late March 2021, the Boone County Fiscal Court approved a contract with Cincinnati Bell that will deliver access to high speed broadband Internet service to every home and business within the county. This contract was approved after an open bidding process with interested Internet service providers, along with several months of negotiation with Cincinnati Bell. The contract requires Cincinnati Bell to deliver high speed broadband service, capable of speeds of 1 GB, via fiber optic lines, to every residential and business front door within Boone County. The project is scheduled for substantial completion by the end of 2023.
Central to this agreement is universal access to high-speed broadband service for every homeowner within the county, together with enhanced affordability by virtue of a package discount for any homeowner who subscribes to the service. It is important to note that this project represents a non-exclusive agreement and any homeowner may continue to subscribe to any Internet service provider of their choice currently offering service within the county.
At its January 11th meeting, the Fiscal Court heard a report from the county staff affirming that the project is proceeding consistent with the plan, on schedule, and within budget. During the third and fourth quarters of 2021 construction to approximately 6000 homes was completed providing access to high speed Internet service via fiber-to-the-premises design. The company installed over 500,000 linear feet of fiber optic cable to complete this work. The work is occurring in numerous areas of the county by company crews and several of its private contractors. For 2022, Cincinnati Bell is scheduled to complete construction that will enable service to an additional 20,000 households and businesses, installing approximately 1.9 million linear feet of fiber optic cable. Any existing or new Cincinnati Bell customer is automatically eligible for discounted high speed internet service once fiber is installed in their neighborhood.
The county has committed 13.6 million dollars of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to underwrite its portion of the agreement. Cincinnati Bell is contractually committed to expend a minimum of 30.0 million dollars, above and beyond the county portion to complete the project.