The state said Tuesday that it has agreed to lease its communications infrastructure, including its existing cell towers, for as much as $260 million over the next 50 years to a Canton, Ohio-based private operator.
The deal will help the state fund its bicentennial-related projects.
Agile Networks is expected to pay Indiana an upfront payment of $50 million and an additional $36 million in revenue share over the initial 25-year term of the deal, the state said.
Agile has the option to renew the deal for another 25 years for another upfront payment of $10 million plus $164 million in share revenue over the second term.
The deal will put Agile in charge of managing, operating and marketing the state’s communications infrastructure.
Pence announced $53.5 million in bicentennial-related projects last year, saying most of the money would come from leasing excess space on the state's 310 cell towers.
“Indiana is a national leader in partnerships that deliver sound financial returns and long-term benefits to Hoosiers,” Gov. Mike Pence said in a written statement. “This agreement, if approved, will put underused assets into full play, enhance Indiana’s communication capabilities throughout the state, and fund the state’s bicentennial projects.”
The Indiana Finance Authority board approved the agreement Tuesday morning, pending review by the state’s legislative budget committee.
“This expansion will enhance broadband service as Agile Networks’ open access model will give wireless carriers and providers the ability to easily enter new urban and rural markets,” said Micah Vincent, director of the Indiana Office of Management and Budget, in a written statement. “The impact of significantly increasing broadband availability in underserved areas will facilitate economic development, increase educational learning and telemedicine opportunities, increase growth for rural businesses, advance agricultural technologies, and provide reliable broadband for residents.”