Frye: State grants help expand internet access to more area residents, businesses

Posted by: Randy Spieth  | Wednesday, September 9, 2020 3:00 pm

STATEHOUSE (Sept. 9, 2020) — Six southeastern Indiana projects expanding fast and reliable internet to unserved homes and businesses can now move forward thanks to more than $13.4 million in state broadband grants, according to State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg).

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. Frye said 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.

"This announcement will greatly benefit southeastern Indiana, with more than 25% of all grant funding going to our community," Frye said. "Once completed, these projects will add high-speed internet access to many homes and businesses that weren't able to get this necessity before. I look forward to seeing this work take place and getting more people connected in our area."

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.

According to Frye, these are the projects impacting Dearborn, Franklin, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties:

Jackson County Rural Electric Membership Corporation
Jennings County
This project will serve 163 locations in three Jennings County Townships: North Vernon, Seymour, and Scipio. The requested grant amount is $239,309, with a local match of $358,964, for a total project cost of $598,273.

Jackson County Rural Electric Membership Corporation
Jennings County
This project will serve 118 locations in North Vernon Township in Jennings County. The requested grant amount is $192,273, with a local match of $288,407, for a total project cost of $480,680.

SEI Communications
Dearborn County
This project will serve five households, one business and three anchor institutions in Dearborn County. The requested grant amount is $439,560, with a local match of $226,440, for a total project cost of $666,000.

SEI Communications
Dearborn, Franklin, and Ripley Counties
In partnership with Southeastern Indiana Rural Electric Membership Corporation, this project will serve 447 households, 58 businesses, and 55 anchor institutions in Ripley, Franklin and Dearborn Counties. The requested grant amount is more than $3.21 million, with a local match of more than $4.83 million, for a total project cost of more than $8.04 million.

SEI Communications
Dearborn, Jefferson, Jennings, and Ripley Counties
In partnership with Southeastern Indiana REMC, this project will provide service to 2,263 households, 199 business and 24 anchor institutions in Ripley, Jennings, and a small portion of Jefferson Counties. The requested grant amount is $5 million, with a local match of more than $8.4 million, for a total project cost of more than $13.4 million.

SEI Communications
Dearborn, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, and Switzerland Counties
In partnership with Southeastern Indiana REMC, this project will serve 522 households, 27 businesses and eight anchor institutions in Switzerland, Jennings, and small portions of Jefferson, Ohio, and Dearborn Counties. The requested grant amount is more than $4.34 million, with a local match of more than $6.51 million, for a total project cost of more than $10.85 million.

For more information, visit in.gov/ocra/3018.htm.

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State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) represents House District 67, which includes
all of Ohio and Switzerland counties, as well as portions of Dearborn,
Decatur, Jefferson, Jennings and Ripley counties.

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