Mayfield, Young: State grants help expand internet access to more Morgan County residents, businesses

Posted by: Wade Coggeshall and Samantha Holifield  | Thursday, September 10, 2020

STATEHOUSE (Sept. 10, 2020) – A Morgan County project expanding fast and reliable internet to unserved homes and businesses can now move forward thanks to a $68,000 state broadband grant, according to State Reps. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) and John Young (R-Franklin).

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. Mayfield 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.

"Reliable internet access is essential, especially as we work through the disruptions in education and business caused by the pandemic," Mayfield said. "It's encouraging to see these partnerships continue to expand this service to more Hoosiers throughout the state."

Young said a proposed project by the Johnson County Rural Electric Membership Corp. will connect 37 households and three businesses in eastern Morgan County. The requested grant amount is $68,193 with a local match of $108,932, for a total project cost of $177,125.

"Rural communities like ours have struggled to develop the infrastructure needed to provide high-speed broadband to local residents," Young said. "Grants like these put state and local dollars to work to begin expanding internet access in unserved areas."

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. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) represents House District 60,
which includes portions of Morgan and Monroe counties.
She is the assistant majority floor leader and serves on the
House Ways and Means, Public Policy and Insurance committees.
Click here for a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. John Young (R-Franklin) represents House District 47,
which includes portions of Johnson and Morgan counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.