Gov. Holcomb announces more than $22m for broadband expansion

Gov. Holcomb announces more than $22m for broadband expansion

INDIANA (WFIE) - Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced $22.1 million in funding for 11 broadband expansion infrastructure projects across the state as a part of the initial round of the Next Level Broadband program.

“Hoosiers need affordable, quality internet regardless of where they live, work or go to school,” Governor Holcomb said. “Access to broadband brings countless opportunities and that’s why I’m excited to see these key infrastructure projects positively impact economic development, health, agriculture and quality of life.”

This funding will provide broadband infrastructure to more than 4,800 homes and commercial locations in 12 counties.

“I’m thrilled to think about how many communities in unserved areas will get access to broadband through this grant program,” Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch said. “Gov. Holcomb’s Next Level Connections initiative is a significant step towards bridging the digital divide and bringing greater opportunities for all Hoosiers.”

Next Level Broadband is part of Governor Holcomb’s $1 billion Next Level Connections infrastructure program, which accelerates the completion of major highway projects, expands access to rural broadband services, creates more nonstop flights and pursues the expansion of rail projects in northwest Indiana.

Four of the 11 projects are with Perry-Spencer Rural Telephone Cooperative.

One project will serve approximately 357 unserved households and 39 unserved businesses in rural portions of southern Perry County. The requested grant amount is almost $1.5 million with a local match of more than $396,000, for a total project cost of almost $1.9 million.

“If you were to look at broadband coverage maps, any map that you look at it shows that Spencer county has a broadband issue," President/CEO Perry Spencer Communications Jim Dobie explained. “It’s very unserved. And so that’s when we decided when this program was introduced we sent in some applications.”

Another project will serve approximately 1,578 unserved households and 176 unserved businesses in primarily rural portions of Spencer County. The requested grant amount is $5 million with a local match of more than $6 million for a total project cost of more than $11 million.

The third project will serve approximately 747 unserved households and 187 unserved businesses in Spencer County. The requested grant amount is nearly $5 million with a local match of more than $1.3 million, for a total project cost of more than $6.3 million.

The last project will serve approximately 473 unserved households and 53 unserved businesses in Spencer County. The requested grant amount is nearly $3.5 million with a local match of nearly $919,000 for a total project cost of nearly $4.4 million.

“Governor Holcomb and I believe that rural Indiana is our next great economic development frontier," Lieutenant Governor Crouch stated. "But in order for rural Indniana to compete we must have access to fast, affordable broadband.”

The governor says they expect more rural communities to apply for what’s left in the fund.

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