INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) – Hoosier home and business owners who lack quality internet service now have a new resource to get ahold of faster internet speeds.

On Monday, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) launched the Indiana Connectivity Program, which allows Hoosiers to apply for faster broadband if they live in an area where that is not readily available. The new connectivity program was established after S.B. 377 was passed in the most recent Indiana General Assembly session.

Lt. Gov. Crouch says the connectivity program will provide a more accurate look at which areas of the state lack sufficient broadband service.

“This program empowers Hoosiers,” said Lt. Gov. Crouch. “While we have FCC maps about broadband and who’s connected and who’s not, it is not accurate. So this information will allow us to better determine where the gaps and the holes are, and help us connect every Hoosier to the last mile.”

Eligible Hoosiers must live in an area where broadband speeds are less than 25Mbps (download) and 3Mbps (upload). They can then apply using an online portal on the OCRA website. Applicants will need to share basic information like their name, contact info, and if they are applying as a household, business, health clinic or school.

If a resident cannot apply online, they can call 833-639-8522 for assistance.

Internet service providers (ISPs) will have the opportunity to review these applications and submit bids to the state on the cost of providing service to these areas. The OCRA will then evaluate these bids and award grant money to the ISPs whose bid presents the lowest cost to the state for extending the service.

The state’s new connectivity program works in tandem with other programs meant to improve the state’s broadband infrastructure, such as the Next Level Connections Broadband Program and the Broadband Ready Community Program.