New program to expand broadband internet to rural areas

Indiana

Governor Eric Holcomb announced a new program to incentivize broadband internet companies to expand coverage to rural areas on Friday.

The Next Level Broadband program will dedicate $100 million to expand coverage across the state. The money will be given through grants to companies who apply to service the growth. 

A map of the cencus blocks shows spots across northeast Indiana currently without broadband service, including areas near Huntertown, Ligonier, and Columbia City. These areas are without at least one broadband provider offering internet fast enough to provide basic services (at least 10mbps download and 1 mbps upload). 

In the initial round of funding, broadband providers can apply for up to $5 million to expand to any unserved area, if they provide at least a 20% match.

“The internet is just as essential to Indiana’s prosperity today as highways were a century ago,” Gov. Holcomb said. “By expanding access to affordable broadband, we’ll ensure more Hoosiers can use this business and personal necessity.”

The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs will oversee the application program. The Indiana Department of Transportation will administer the grant funding and provide technical support. 

Applications and more information about the program can be found on ocra.in.gov/nlc.htm

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