KNOX COUNTY, Ind. (WAWV/WTWO) – A local internet service provider has received a state grant to expand broadband service in Knox County.
Echo Wireless has received $2.4 million from the state’s Next Level Connections broadband grant program, which will be used to support the expansion of broadband infrastructure in the northeast region of Knox County.
Knox County Indiana Economic Development Christopher Pfaff said the Knox Rural Broadband Task Force was organized just over a year ago and includes many community members.
“Internet service providers, local businesses and agricultural businesses have all joined the task force,” Pfaff said.
Tim Trotter, co-owner of Echo Wireless, said the results of one of the task force’s early surveys were a key factor in receiving the Next Level Connections broadband grant.
“We had studies done by Purdue on internet quality in Knox County,” Trotter said. “What emerged was that in the northern part of the county the internet was not up to scratch. It was not at minimum state levels and certainly not at minimum federal levels.
Trotter said that’s when Echo Wireless applied for the grant.
“The program provides money specifically for the construction of those areas that they know are not financially feasible to build for private companies,” Trotter said.
Longtime Knox County resident Norm Conde said as a former teacher and current farmer, having reliable internet in all parts of the county is essential.
“We use the internet to line up our fields, it helps us increase harvests because we can get more rows,” Conde said.
Conde believes the new grant will help better serve the county.
“It is extremely important both educationally for young people and for business people in the region,” Conde said.
The full list of the three Next Level Connections grant recipients is available on the Indiana government website.