By the herald’s staff
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced a new program on Tuesday to help more Hoosiers access quality, reliable broadband.
Homeowners and business owners can apply to be considered for Indiana’s connectivity program, which opens to applicants Monday. This new tool can connect residents and businesses that do not have Internet service with Internet service providers and help with the expense of expanding broadband to unserved and underserved locations.
“Indiana’s connectivity program aims to provide high-quality broadband service to unserved and underserved Hoosiers,” said Crouch. “The past year and a half has highlighted the great importance of having everyone connected. This program is a way to bring a service to households and businesses that are in Internet darkness or have high speeds. that do not meet the requirements of our students who are eLearning or telecommuting our workforce. “
Starting Monday, Hoosiers and business owners without an Internet connection can communicate their interest by entering their address and information on the Next Level Connections portal at in.gov/ocra/broadband.
Hoosiers can also generate interest by calling the Indiana Broadband Connection Center, which is open business days from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, starting Monday. Hoosiers can reach the call center at 833-639-8522.
“Through this program, we can help more Hoosiers, especially those in rural areas, have better access to quality Internet service,” said Denny Spinner, CEO of OCRA. “Indiana’s connectivity program is one more step towards extending broadband accessibility to all corners of Indiana.”
To be eligible, a location must have access to actual speeds of less than 25 Mbps (upload) and 3 Mbps (upload). Entering location information into the Next Level Connections Broadband portal does not guarantee service extension.
Eligible locations submitted will be available to service providers within 90 days. Funding for the Next Level Connections Broadband program may be available to help expand Internet opportunities in these locations, following a 60-day tendering process. Once awarded, suppliers must complete their projects within nine months of the contract date.
For more information, visit in.gov/ocra/broadband/icp.