Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette
Adrian Odle is a mechanical engineer, married, mother of three children and a horticulturist. And thanks to Indiana’s Connectivity Program, it will soon have the kind of broadband speed needed for a modern family and entrepreneur.
Odle’s was one of 246 Hoosier households and seven businesses to receive a grant under the Connectivity Program made possible by the American Rescue Plan. The grant allows homeowners and business owners without internet service or without internet service to apply for better connections. Allen County had 15 grant recipients in this cycle.
Building broadband networks is expensive for internet service providers, with hurdles ranging from regulatory hurdles to land restrictions. For years, the low population density made the investment unprofitable.
“COVID has shown that broadband is no longer a luxury,” Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch told the Journal Gazette on Thursday.
Federal guidelines define broadband as a minimum download speed of 25 megabits per second and an upload speed of 3 Mbps. For perspective, that’s a good rate for about two people and up to five devices, suggests technology publisher Move.org. Odle’s download speed was 18.9 Mbps when it checked on Thursday. And that’s in Allen County, where 94.6% of residents have access to speeds over 100 Mbps. Predictably, Marion and Hancock counties are wired for more than 99% of residents to download at 100 Mbps, data aggregator BroadbandNow reports.
“It will have a big impact on the daily lives of these Hoosiers, whether it’s working and learning remotely, shopping online, or connecting with family and friends virtually,” said Denny Spinner, director of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, in a statement announcing the awards.
Once sold as glitch-eradicating technology for streamers and gamers, high-speed connectivity is now seen as a vital utility.
Consider that a recent study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed Medicare telehealth grew 63-fold during the pandemic — from 840,000 visits in 2019 to 52.7 million through the end of 2020. .
The pandemic has also sparked a sizzling entrepreneurial spirit. In 2019, there were 3.5 million new business apps, the US Census Bureau reported. In 2021, 5.4 million applications were filed, breaking the previous year’s record of 1 million submissions.
Odle’s Creekside Meadows Flower Farm, 10904 E. North County Line Road, grew out of its experience with vegetables from seeds during the early days of the pandemic. Later she began to experiment with flowers.
It is not a capricious choice. Before choosing to be a stay-at-home mom, the Rose-Hulman Institute graduate was a product manager for Franklin Electric working on irrigation pumps.
Odle has developed a micro-farm for specialist cut flowers, supplying wholesale florists and designers and servicing bouquets for homes and offices.
“Everything I do for the business is online – orders, payroll, website,” she told the Journal Gazette. “So the connection is not only for the house but also for my business. We will be able to do everything together.
Lieutenant Governor Crouch encourages Hoosiers to apply for the next round of funding. To learn more, visit www.in.gov/ocra/broadband/icp.