Grants help expand internet access | Local News

STATEHOUSE – Fast and reliable internet is coming to more homes and businesses in Southeast Indiana thanks to more than $15.5 million in state broadband grants, according to State Reps. Randy Lyness (R-West Harrison) and Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville).

Indiana recently awarded a total of $189 million for 154 broadband projects around the state as part of the third round of the Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program.

In total, more than 52,900 homes and businesses across 80 counties will benefit from the program supported and funded by the state legislature.

“We have continued to see reliable broadband go from a luxury to a need for many Hoosiers,” Lyness said. “These grants allow Indiana to make targeted investments to build the infrastructure necessary for homes and businesses to connect to this critical resource.”

Ziemke said in addition to the $189 million awarded, 35 telecommunications providers and utility cooperatives contributed more than $239 million in matching funds, resulting in more than $429 million being invested.

“The COVID-19 pandemic certainly exacerbated the need for Hoosiers to be able to connect with one another online,” Ziemke said. “It’s important to prioritize access for those who are currently living in underserved areas because they can’t afford to fall further behind.”

Nine upcoming projects will help expand broadband in Decatur, Franklin and Ripley counties:

• Frontier: This project will expand broadband access to 377 households across Franklin County. The requested grant amount is $1,406,489, with a local match of $1,406,490, for a total project cost of $2,812,979.

• Miles Communications: This project will expand broadband access to 31 households and 16 businesses or organizations across Franklin County. The requested grant amount is $197,645, with a local match of $197,645, for a total project cost of $395,290.

• Miles Communications: This project will expand broadband access to 77 households and 72 businesses or organizations in Decatur, Franklin and Ripley counties. The requested grant amount is $2,399,110, with a local match of $599,777, for a total project cost of $2,998,887.

• Miles Communications: This project will expand broadband access to three households and 15 businesses or organizations in Decatur and Jennings counties. The requested grant amount is $272,875, with a local match of $68,218, for a total project cost of $341,094.

• Miles Communications: This project will expand broadband access to 139 households and 128 businesses or organizations in Ripley County. The requested grant amount is $2,284,580, with a local match of $979,106, for a total project cost of $3,263,686.

• Miles Communications: This project will expand broadband access to three households and eight businesses or organizations in Franklin County. The requested grant amount is $82,030, with a local match of $35,156, for a total project cost of $117,186.

• Southeastern Indiana REMC: This project will expand broadband access to 292 households and 18 businesses or organizations in Franklin, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties. The requested grant amount is $1,512,220, with a local match of $1,573,943, for a total project cost of $3,086,164.

• Southeastern Indiana REMC: This project will expand broadband access to 307 households and 40 businesses or organizations in Dearborn, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties. The requested grant amount is $3,341,573, with a local match of $1,501,286, for a total project cost of $4,842,859.

• Spectrum Mid-America: This project will expand broadband access to 783 households and 22 businesses or organizations in Franklin County. The requested grant amount is $4,085,591, with a local match of $1,207,500, for a total project cost of $5,293,091.

The Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program provides funding of up to $5 million per project to expand broadband service to unserved areas. To be eligible for funding, applicants must also contribute at least a 20% match.

For more information about the projects and grants, visit in.gov/ocra.

Lyness represents House District 68, which includes all of Union County and portions of Franklin and Dearborn counties.

Ziemke represents House District 55, which includes all of Fayette County and portions of Decatur, Franklin, Ripley and Rush counties.

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