Governor Eric Holcomb announced last month that the state will invest $189 million to expand 154 broadband facilities in Indiana. This will impact 52,900 locations and marks the third cycle of the Next Level Connections broadband grant program.
This program is the state’s largest investment in broadband internet connection, starting in 2018 to improve connectivity for homes and businesses. Since 2018, more than $580 million has been raised toward this goal in 83 of Indiana’s 92 counties.
“This record-breaking investment in broadband is a game-changer for Hoosiers, who need affordable, reliable internet more than ever,” Holcomb said. “With this third round, we are taking giant steps to level the playing field for our residents, wherever they choose to live, work or go to school.”
Broadband service providers and utility companies can apply for up to $5 million to upgrade their broadband power and expand their services. These requests will then be processed by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
The Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program is part of Holcomb’s billion-dollar Next Level Connections infrastructure program. This program also focuses on delivering major highway, rail and non-stop flight projects. After the initial $100 million was spent on broadband expansion, another $250 million was set aside.
In the state of Indiana, 12.4% of citizens do not have an adequate high-speed Internet connection and 48.4% live in areas where only one service provider is present, which means that the bands bandwidths and connections may not be as stable. This inequality has become more prominent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has sent many students and employees home to work.