Lehe, VanNatter: State grants help expand internet access to more Clinton County residents, businesses

Posted by: Josh DeFonce  | Thursday, September 10, 2020 9:45 am

STATEHOUSE (Sept. 10, 2020) — Several Clinton County projects expanding fast and reliable internet to unserved homes and businesses can now move forward thanks to more than $2.9 million in state broadband grants, according to State Reps. Don Lehe (R-Brookston) and Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo).

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.

"Expanding the broadband infrastructure for local residents will greatly help as we all continue to adapt to changes caused by the pandemic," Lehe said. "With many kids expected to learn from home and adults working from home, it is crucial they have the resources they need."

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.

"This year has proven how important it is for Hoosiers to have a reliable internet connection that they can trust to work effectively from home," VanNatter said. “This funding will reach many unserved areas in our community and help them connect to resources, people and businesses.”

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 Lehe and VanNatter, these are the projects impacting Clinton County, with some projects reaching into nearby Montgomery and Tippecanoe counties:

Tipmont Rural Electric Membership Corporation: This project will serve 163 unserved households and 34 farms/businesses in Clinton County. The requested grant amount is $1.16 million, with a local match of more than $1.16 million, for a total project cost of more than $2.33 million.

Tipmont Rural Electric Membership Corporation: This project will serve 150 unserved households, 12 farms/businesses and one anchor institution in Clinton and Tippecanoe counties. The requested grant amount is $814,985, with a local match of $814,985, for a total project cost of more than $1.62 million.

Tipmont Rural Electric Membership Corporation: This project will serve 39 unserved households, four farms/businesses and three anchor institutions in Tippecanoe, Montgomery, and Clinton counties. The requested grant amount is $981,803, with a local match of $981,803 for a total project cost of more than $1.96 million.

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

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State Rep. Don Lehe (R-Brookston) represents House District 25, which
includes portions of Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Tippecanoe and White counties.
Click 
here to download a high-resolution photo. 

State Rep. Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo) represents House District 38,
which includes portions of Carroll, Cass, Howard and Clinton counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.