State grants help expand internet access to more Henry County residents, businesses

Posted by: Lydia Kirschner  | Thursday, September 3, 2020

STATEHOUSE (Sept. 3, 2020) — Two Henry County projects expanding fast and reliable internet to unserved homes and businesses can now move forward thanks to $372,000 in state broadband grants, according to State Rep. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville).

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.

"Having access to fast and reliable broadband is more important than ever," Saunders said. "Many young Hoosiers are working or learning remotely during this time, and require high-speed internet. These two grants will be essential to expanding internet access to unserved areas of Henry County."

Saunders said a proposed project by Central Indiana Communications, in partnership with Henry County Rural Electric Membership Corp., will serve approximately 70 unserved households and 10 businesses. The requested grant amount is $361,711 with a local match of $194,767, for a total project cost of more than $556,000. Another project by New Lisbon Broadband and Communications will serve six unserved residences in south-central Henry County. The requested grant amount is $10,649 with a local match of $16,657, for a total project cost of over $27,000.

In addition to the $51 million awarded today, 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. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville) represents House District 54,

which includes Henry County and portions of Rush and Wayne counties.

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