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Subsidies for rural broadband benefit the region | Local News

INDIANAPOLIS — Rural broadband projects in the region are receiving funding to improve broadband connectivity through the third round of the Next Level Connections broadband grant program, State Senator Mark Messmer said ( R-Jasper).

In total, the program’s first, second and third cycles awarded $268 million for broadband infrastructure in more than 74,800 homes and business locations. Combined with private and local investments, more than $580 million has been raised since 2018. Projects will have been completed in 83 of Indiana’s 92 counties during the three award rounds.

In the region, the following providers have obtained grants:

• Echo Wireless received a $2.4 million grant to expand broadband access to serve 943 homes and 21 businesses in Knox County.

• Mainstream Fiber Network received seven grants, including three ($2.7 million) to extend broadband access to 219 homes and 48 businesses in Dubois, Gibson and Pike counties.

• Orange County REMC received three grants ($1.34 million) to extend broadband access to 498 homes and 153 businesses in Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Lawrence, Martin, Orange and Pike.

• The Perry-Spencer Rural Telephone Cooperative received two grants, one of which ($714,220) expands broadband access to 23 homes and 19 businesses in Dubois, Pike and Warrick counties.

• Spectrum Mid-America received 26 grants, including five ($1.8 million) to extend broadband access to 399 homes and nine businesses in Gibson, Pike, Posey, Warrick and Spencer counties.

“Projects like these are a critical part of improving the quality of life and business environment in rural areas of our state,” Messmer said. “I am very pleased to see so many award-winning projects in Senate District 48 and look forward to seeing their impact.”

The third round of funding provides broadband infrastructure to more than 52,900 homes and business locations in 80 counties.

In addition, the 35 telecommunications providers and utility cooperatives contributed more than $239 million in matching funds, resulting in total broadband investments of more than $429 million in the third round.

The program allows broadband providers and utility co-ops to apply for up to $5 million to extend service to unserved or underserved areas if they provide at least a 20% match.