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Indiana to receive $868M for broadband expansion

Indiana to receive $868M for broadband expansion

Indiana Broadband

Indiana will soon have access to $868 million in federal funds earmarked for projects to improve internet access across the state. Indiana officials said the state is now only a few steps away from considering proposals from internet service providers as to how they might expand their reach. “It’s not an advantage to be connected by broadband, it’s a necessity,” Gov.

Eric Holcomb said at a press conference Monday. The money comes from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program, a state grant program funded by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The program aims to deploy or upgrade high-speed internet networks.

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) approved Indiana’s initial proposal for improving its high-speed internet access, but the state must rely on internet service providers to bring its vision to fruition. Stephen Cox, Indiana’s state infrastructure and broadband administrator, said the state will prioritize areas with the least amount of access and slowest overall service.

Indiana’s broadband funding and expansion

Alan Davidson, administrator of the NTIA, drew parallels between these investments and major projects from previous generations, like electrifying homes or the interstate highway system. Davidson said the NTIA is working quickly to approve funds to allow states to begin starting projects soon. Improvements ultimately rest on investment from internet service providers, who build the physical infrastructure to improve access and speed.

The grant money is intended to incentivize providers to build infrastructure in areas that may not traditionally yield a profit, like low-income neighborhoods, small towns, and rural areas. The federal program includes more than $42 billion to improve broadband access nationwide. The U.S. lags behind other developed nations in access to high-speed internet, and it has been a significant issue.

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In some Indiana counties, more than 30% of residents have no high-speed access. Once broadband access is considered sufficient across the state by officials, the funds can be used for internet adoption training, workforce development, and other purposes.

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