Connectivity

Earnie Holtrey, Indiana Broadband Office project manager, on April 4 encourages Boone County Commissioners to work toward a Broadband Ready Communities designation for the county to attract more service providers and connectivity.

Rural Boone County households should soon be able to enjoy high-speed Internet, thanks to more than $3 million in state and federal grants.

Indiana’s Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program awarded the county nearly $2 million, and the federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund awarded the county nearly $1.5 million to upgrade broadband infrastructure and service in rural and underserved areas of Boone County.

Boone County Commissioners in February applied for a third-round grant to improve quality of life, and the Boone County Council earmarked $215,000 as the county’s matching funds. Communities that receive the grants are responsible for at least 20% of their projects.

Charter Spectrum won the 126 grants throughout the state, the largest number of any provider. Charter Spectrum will run fiber to 1,100 homes and businesses in the New Ross, Jamestown, Whitestown, Sheridan, Lebanon and Zionsville areas. Boone County Commissioners expect the project to begin in autumn.

“We are thrilled about this because it is a pretty large expansion that will bring gig speeds by way of fiber to Boone County residents,” Elizabeth James, manager of Government Affairs for Charter Spectrum, said. “We are thankful for the support from the county leadership who were excellent to work with and who have made Boone County a very attractive location for providers such as ourselves.”

Charter Spectrum has already begun expanding high-speed Internet service via a previous grant and is using Boone County REMC poles to quickly run cable.

Next Level Connections Round 3 awarded $189 million to expand broadband access to 52,900 Hoosier homes and businesses.

In total – in rounds one, two and three of the program – the state awarded $268 million across 83 counties and more than 74,800 homes and commercial sites.

The service would offer download speeds of 1 gigabyte per second and upload speeds of 540 megabytes per second. Unserved homes can visit the website at spectrumruralexpansion.com to enter an address and see if expansion is planned at present. The website will offer an email signup for more information when it becomes available.

For more information, visit the website at www.in.gov/ocra/nlc.

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