The Federal Communications Commission has awarded Indiana more than $29 million to “close the digital divide” in rural areas. The office of Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch says the funding, which will be distributed over 10 years, will boost broadband speeds in more than 24,500 locations. Crouch adds “unserved and underserved rural areas in our state need high-speed, reliable Internet in order to keep Indiana’s economy thriving. Collaboration between federal, state and local entities will bring Indiana communities to the Next Level and I anticipate we will be working on building upon this progress.” A total of 45 states received support through the federal program, which will provide $1.5 billion overall. The issue of access to broadband in rural areas has become an important one for the state. It recently created a position, director of broadband opportunities, which was filled by former town manager and economic development director for the town of Nashville, Scott Rudd. In a news release from Crouch’s office, Rudd said “by helping over 24,000 locations throughout our state receive high-speed broadband access, communities will have more opportunities to grow and thrive.”
The Indiana recipients of the funding include:
Benton Ridge Telephone Co. – nearly $14.9 million for over 11,500 locations
Mercury Wireless – $1.4 million for nearly 7,400 locations
Orange County REMC – $10.2 million for more than 4,000 locations
Perry-Spencer Rural Telephone – nearly $1.2 million for 359 locations
RTC Communications Corp. – more than $1.3 million for more than 1,200 locations
Wisper ISP Inc. – nearly $124,00 for 14 locations