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

Posted by: Randy Spieth  | Wednesday, September 9, 2020 3:15 pm

STATEHOUSE (Sept. 9, 2020) — Two Jennings County projects expanding fast and reliable internet to unserved homes and businesses can now move forward thanks to more than $431,000 in state broadband grants, according to State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour).

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.

"Rural Indiana should have the same level of access to high-speed internet already available in Hoosier cities," Lucas said. "These grants will help Jennings County residents learn and work, and businesses further expand their reach."

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 Lucas, these are the projects impacting Jennings County:

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.

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

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State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) represents House District 69, which includes
portions of Bartholomew, Jackson, Jennings and Jefferson counties.
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here to download a high-resolution photo.