Area counties to benefit from broadband grant

Bartholomew, Jennings and Shelby counties are among among those sharing in $22.1 million in funding to improve internet access.

Governor Eric Holcomb announced the funding for 11 broadband expansion infrastructure projects across the state. All as 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,” Gov. 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.

The $100 million Next Level Broadband program is the largest single state investment in broadband. For the initial round of funding, service providers could apply for up to $5 million per project to expand service to unserved areas if they provided at least a 20 percent match.

In addition to the $22.1 million awarded through Next Level Broadband, state officials say the seven telecommunications providers and utility cooperatives contributed $14 million in matching funds, resulting in $36.1 million total investment for broadband.

Miles Communication Corporation will serve approximately 366 unserved households and 135 unserved businesses, in primarily rural portions of Bartholomew, Jennings and Shelby counties. State officials say that applicants will be provide unserved areas levels of up to one-gigabyte download and upload service, the highest speed available on the market.

The requested grant amount is $2.8 million. A local match of $2.9 million brings the total project cost to more than $5.7 million.