Black & Veatch Lends Expertise to First Ever Public Private Partnership for a Broadband Network | Black & Veatch

KentuckyWired Broadband Network

Black & Veatch Lends Expertise to First Ever Public Private Partnership for a Broadband Network

Project Name
KentuckyWired Broadband Network
Commonwealth of Kentucky

Client: KentuckyWired is the commonwealth of Kentucky’s public infrastructure project to provide high-speed, high-capacity internet service to every county in the state. Broadband, widely considered an essential utility service, will improve quality of life for Kentucky residents through economic growth and improved services, like education and health care.

Business Issue: The KentuckyWired network will be a state-wide, middle-mile fiber network connecting key users, such as government and academic institutions. New or existing internet service providers (ISPs) will be able to connect to the middle-mile, open-access network and build out the last-mile to individual homeowners and businesses. The key objectives of the project include:

  • Provide a transparent and open access network that effectively reduces barriers of entry for service providers and promotes competition within the commonwealth

  • Promote economic activity by sharing the network with the private sector and promoting the network in the recruitment of companies to establish a presence in Kentucky and the retention of existing companies through growth opportunities

  • Make dark fiber available to public and private sector technology service providers in un-served or underserved rural areas

  • Support collaborative opportunities across and among the public and private sectors and enhance research, education, and public service initiatives

  • Increase economies of scale to allow for combined buying power and elimination of duplicate networking infrastructure projects and associated costs across the public sector

Solution: To fund the KentuckyWired network, the commonwealth formed a first-of-its-kind public private partnership (PPP) with Macquarie Capital. Macquarie Capital – and its partners, Black & Veatch, Ledcor, First Solutions, and Fujitsu – who designed, constructed, financed, and operated the network. Black & Veatch and Ledcor joined forces to form an LLC to execute all of the design-build services.

Value: This was a full EPC project involving the construction of more than 2,300 miles of fiber optic design and installation. The goal of the KentuckyWired initiative was to improve the commonwealth’s access to essential broadband services. Currently ranked in the bottom five states for average broadband speeds, Kentucky is investing in delivering reliable, high-speed internet connectivity to stimulate its economy. The commonwealth of Kentucky legislature funded $30 million in its 2014 legislative session. An additional $23.5 million of federal funds were appropriated for the project. The remainder came from private investment. Whenever possible, existing infrastructure was used by partnering with local telecommunications companies, municipalities and major carriers to reduce construction costs. The middle-mile network is comprised of approximately 3,400 miles of fiber and 1,100 customer endpoints.

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