Bartels: $3M state grant helps expand internet access to more Crawford County residents, businesses

Posted by: Jordan Wallace  | Friday, September 4, 2020

STATEHOUSE (Sept. 4, 2020) — A project expanding fast and reliable internet to unserved homes and businesses in Crawford County can now move forward thanks to a $3 million state broadband grant, according to State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty).

Gov. Eric Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Office of Community and Rural Affairs recently announced a total of $51 million awarded for 50 broadband expansion projects around the state. The funding is part of the second round of the Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program, which will provide broadband infrastructure to more than 10,590 homes and commercial locations across 32 counties.

"Securing these grant funds is extremely important and vital to Crawford County," Bartels said. "This investment will help more than 1,000 households and businesses in our area stay connected and continue to be productive, whether using the internet for school or work."

Bartels said the proposed project by Mainstream Fiber Networks will serve approximately 1,041 unserved households, 128 unserved businesses and 25 anchor institutions, in primarily rural portions of Crawford County. The requested grant amount is more than $3.06 million with a local match of $2.71 million, for a total project cost of more than $5.7 million.

Bartels worked for over a year alongside county officials to help obtain more broadband funding to expand and improve internet access for families, farmers and businesses.

In addition to the $51 million awarded, 16 telecommunications providers and utility cooperatives contributed more than $53 million in matching funds, resulting in more than $104 million total investment for broadband.

The Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program provides funding of up to $5 million per project to expand broadband service to unserved areas. In order to be eligible for funding, applicants must be able to contribute at least a 20% match.

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State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74,
which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
here to download a high-resolution photo.