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Bloomington Ends Negotiations With Potential Broadband Partner

The city says it will reopen negotiations with other providers.

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Photo: Kyle Stokes/StateImpact Indiana

Hamilton says the city is still committed to finding a partner for the citywide fiber network.

The city of Bloomington announced Thursday it’s ending its negotiations with Canadian-based company Axia without reaching an agreement on providing citywide broadband.

Bloomington entered into an agreement with Axia in December to build a city-wide, open-architecture, Gigabit-class fiber optic broadband service. Axia was supposed to upgrade the city’s Internet infrastructure to significantly increase speed.

The company proposed to start construction if community interest for the project reached 40 percent, but it’s unclear if the planning process got that far. The city says 67 percent of respondents to its city survey ranked citywide high-speed fiber for internet access as essential or very important.

“Axia’s business model was unique and new to the United States,” Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton said in a statement. “It fit our goals well. But apparently Axia’s private equity investors couldn’t get comfortable enough with the new business model. The new federal administration’s pull back from commitments to open and affordable broadband has also changed the climate for progressive efforts in this arena.”

The city initially received 12 responses from companies interested in partnering with the city on the initiative. Bloomington plans to reopen negotiations with those providers.

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