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Boone County, Cincinnati Bell to Offer County-Wide High-Speed Internet

The Boone County fiscal court approved a partnership with Cincinnati Bell that leaders expect will result in the development of a one gigabit high-speed broadband network available to every address in the county.

The robust network is being deployed within a 24 to 36-month time frame.

A news conference announcing the partnership was held Wednesday. Boone County officials said that this project is the first of its type in the nation.

Judge/Executive Gary Moore said that the broadband expansion would reach more than 40,000 unserved businesses and residential addresses.

"The quote that I heard last night was comparing this type of technology to an age of the past where people were able to turn on their lights, with the electricity being extended across the nation," said Moore. "I am not sure we fully understand the impact of everything this project will deliver. Some people will start to get high speed fiber to their door within the next weeks and months. It is an amazing delivery schedule."

He said that the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn more attention to the need for connectivity and the overall quality of life for the community.  

Boone County has committed $13.6 million after leveraging available grant and partner funding, and that in turn has generated an investment by Cincinnati Bell of more than $30 million to fund this project.

The base backbone system will be a state of the art fiber to the premises model, ideally constructing a high-speed fiber optic cable that runs along every county road with the goal of providing additional system equipment, ensuring that every residence is fiber-qualified to be able to subscribe to the enhanced internet service platform.

UniCity, which is Cincinnati Bell's Smart City organization, will fund $500,000 worth of improvements to Boone County's public Wi-Fi infrastructure. UniCity has been designed to work with communities to come up with technology applications that support business district growth, neighborhood based enhancements and public safety.

Jason Praeter, president of entertainment and communications at Cincinnati Bell, said that CVG Airport is number one in the country for highest speed Wi-Fi in the nation.  The fiber base system in Boone County will be designed to make sure the capacity will be able to handle all the future development and technology updates.

Cincinnati Bell has a long history in providing and managing large and complex wireline and wireless projects. As the top supplier of fiber based serviced in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, the company has invested more than $1 billion since 2010 into building a fiber network across the region. 

Other project funding partners contributing to the initiative  are the Boone County Schools District, Walton-Verona School District, Boone County Public Library and Boone County Extension.

"Delivering access for every address in the county to high-speed service is critical in creating a high quality of life environment and positioning our county as a community of choice for residents and businesses," said Moore. "The partnership with Cincinnati Bell will leverage significant private capital investment that would not have been made without the commitment of the fiscal court, solidifying our position at the forefront of economic development, innovation and focusing on the needs of our citizens."

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

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