More than 40,000 homes and businesses in Boone County with limited or no high-speed internet service should be able to gain access over the next two years as part of a new agreement between county government and internet provider Cincinnati Bell.
Cincinnati Bell will develop a one-gigabit, high-speed broadband fiber network that will be available to every address in the county, county officials say. The fiber network will be available within an accelerated 24-36 month time frame.
As part of the agreement, qualified students from kindergarten through high school in Boone will have access to discounted pricing programs for home-based internet, as well as other subsidized broadband programs.
The agreement was OK’d by Boone County Fiscal Court
, which agreed to commit $13.6 million to the project, leveraging Cincinnati Bell’s planned investment of more than $30 million.
The Boone County Schools District, Walton-Verona School District, Boone County Public Library and Boone County Extension are funding partners contributing to the initiative.
“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,” says Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore.
It’s estimated that about 10% of students in Boone County do not have internet access, a gap that has become more glaring as schools have turned to online instruction over the last year during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Across Northern Kentucky, it’s estimated that about 58,700 addresses do not meet the FCC definition for high-speed broadband. Population of the three counties tops 400,000.
Under the new agreement, high-speed fiber will be extended to both single-family homes and multi-family dwellings in Boone County.