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Holcomb announces $22 million for broadband expansion

INDIANAPOLIS — Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced $22.1 million in funding Thursday 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,” 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.

New Lisbon Broadband and Communications, LLC will benefit from the Next Level Broadband program through a Wayne County project.

The project will provide reliable broadband service to 82 unserved households in Wayne County. New Lisbon Broadband will place middle mile fiber cable east from US 27 along Wallace Road to the Whitewater Community. The requested grant amount is nearly $260,000 with a local match of more than $270,000, for a total project cost of more than $530,000.

Other Indiana counties benefitting from the Next Level Broadband program are Bartholomew, Jennings, Shelby, Clark, Floyd, Howard, Tipton, Spencer, Perry, Noble and Monroe.

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. Unserved areas are those without at least one telecommunication provider offering internet fast enough to provide the most basic services – at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.

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

“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.”

Gov. Holcomb asked Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, along with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), to oversee the application program.

OCRA received applications for 64 projects, and a multi-agency committee reviewed the proposals based on the Next Level Broadband program objectives.

For more information on the selected proposals, visit ocra.in.gov/nlc.htm.

– Information provided by governor’s office