State To Pay For Some Bicentennial Projects Through Cell Tower Lease

Sep 6, 2016

The state hopes to rake in as much as $260 million over the course of what could be a 50-year lease.
Credit courtesy State of Indiana

State officials announced a potential 50-year deal Tuesday to lease unused state cell towers and use the money to pay for the Bicentennial projects.

The Indiana Finance Authority approved an agreement on a potential 50-year lease – renewable after the first 25 years – for unused cell tower capacity between the state and Ohio-based Agile Networks.

The deal is expected to yield the state $260 million over the next half-century.

Agile will pay $50 million up front and share a percentage of the revenues generated by the towers with the state.

Agile founder Kyle Quillen says his company plans to expand broadband coverage into unserved or underserved areas of the state.

“There’s a lot of infrastructure assets that have been built for government in general that the private sector doesn’t really utilize.”

The final contract must still be negotiated, then approved by the Finance Authority and the State Budget Committee. The two sides anticipate that final approval within the next two months – and Quillen says he hopes to complete the broadband expansion within a year.