AT&T thinks its public-private fiber builds could be a model for Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment projects

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AT&T has made a point of pursuing public-private partnership agreements in recent months, striking deals in Indiana, Kentucky, and Texas. AT&T President of Broadband Access and Deployment Jeff Luong cites the company's ahead-of-schedule project in Indiana as a template for what might be achieved through future projects funded by the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. The executive noted that in addition to the publicly announced partnerships in Indiana, Kentucky, and Texas, AT&T has won a handful of other deals it hasn’t disclosed. While these agreements aren’t necessarily material to AT&T’s broader plan to reach 30 million-plus locations with fiber, they are important for two key reasons. First, the builds help connect un- and underserved communities. And second, they provide a template that can be replicated in other communities with BEAD money, especially since many already leverage federal funding. “I think these public-private partnerships are a model for what we could do with BEAD,” Luong said. “It’s our intention to participate if the rules are conducive to the type of public-private partnerships we are implementing today with the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money.”

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