DALLAS -- Indiana would receive an upfront payment of $50 million under terms of a proposed deal to lease the state's communications infrastructure, including its existing cell towers, to a Canton, Ohio –based private operator.
The state will use the funds for various building projects.
The deal to manage, operate and market the state's communications infrastructure will deliver a total of $86 million over the 25-year term of the lease with room to grow through future renewals, Gov. Mike Pence said Tuesday when he announced the deal with Agile Networks.
Agile has the option to renew the agreement for an additional 25-year term. Under the extended term, Agile would pay Indiana an additional up-front payment of $10 million, plus an additionally anticipated $164 million over the renewal term. In total the state has the potential to earn as much as $260 million from the deal.
"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," said Pence, who is Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's running mate.
The agreement would expand rural and agricultural broadband solutions and wireless services throughout Indiana and fund the state's bicentennial projects.
The Indiana Finance Authority board approved the agreement on Tuesday. The final contract must be approved by the state legislative budget committee.
The initial upfront payment will help the state fund bicentennial-related projects that Pence announced last year.
The deal with Agile would help cover the entire cost of a $25 million state archives building, a $2.5 million education center at the Indiana State Library and a $2 million Bicentennial plaza at the statehouse, according to state spokesperson Kara Brooks. The Bicentennial Plaza and Education Center are near completion.
Funding for the State Archives Building will be requested at the September 23rd State Budget Committee meeting. The state continues to work with IU on the project site details.
The state also plans to build a lodge at Potato Creek State Park.
"Plans for the Potato Creek Inn in North Liberty are not yet finalized, but this deal will provide significant upfront funding and enough ongoing revenue to make the Inn a reality," said Brooks in an e-mail.
"Hoosiers are the big winners in this agreement, which provides revenue for important projects and expands communications opportunities throughout the state," said IFA Director Dan Huge. "This agreement provides great value to Hoosiers by taking advantage of our currently underutilized communications assets."
Agile touts what it calls a history of success working with the public and private sectors to significantly increase broadband availability. This expansion will allow telecommunications and infrastructure providers to take advantage of Agile's open access model, the firm said, making it easy for wireless and other providers to enter new urban and rural markets in Indiana.