Morrison, Baird: State grants help expand internet access to more residents, businesses in Parke and Vermillion counties

Posted by: Wade Coggeshall  | Wednesday, September 9, 2020

STATEHOUSE (Sept. 9, 2020) – Several projects in Parke and Vermillion counties expanding fast and reliable internet to unserved homes and businesses can now move forward thanks to over $1.1 million in state broadband grants, according to State Reps. Alan Morrison (R-Brazil) and Beau Baird (R-Greencastle).

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. Morrison 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.

"Fast, reliable internet service has become more essential for many Hoosiers this year than ever before," Morrison said. "The Next Level Connections program will help connect many families and businesses in west central Indiana and build this important infrastructure."

"The state continues to make broadband access one of its top priorities and this grant program is proof of our commitment," Baird said. "The money will help expand service to unserved areas, giving more and more Hoosiers access to resources for education and commerce."

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 Baird, these are the projects impacting Parke and Vermillion counties:

Joink: This project will serve approximately 73 unserved households and businesses in Parke County. The requested grant amount is $351,002, with a local match of $87,750, for a total project cost of $438,752.

Joink: This project will serve approximately 26 households in Parke County. The requested grant amount is $284,172, with a local match of $71,043, for a total project cost of $355,215.

Joink: This project will connect approximately 18 unserved households in Washington Township in Parke County. The requested grant amount is $298,081, with a local match of $74,520, for a total project cost of $372,601.

Joink: This project will serve 22 households and one business in South East Cayuga in Vermillion County. The requested grant amount is $252,979, with a local match of $63,245, for a total project cost of $316,224.

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

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State Rep. Alan Morrison (R-Brazil) represents House District 42,
which includes all of Vermillion County and portions of Clay,
Fountain, Parke, Vigo and Warren counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) represents House District 44, which includes
all of Putnam County and portions of Clay, Morgan, Owen and Parke counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.