Indiana Broadband: State Commits $100M; New Study Shows Value of High-Speed Access - America's Electric Cooperatives

The state of Indiana will invest $100 million to develop high-speed internet access in its sparsely populated counties. The announcement comes on the heels of new research showing the state could gain $12 billion in economic benefits from rural broadband service.

“Today we’re sending a big message to the world that Indiana is making a huge investment in our quality of life and for those who aspire to join us,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said at a Sept. 4 gathering of elected officials and community leaders at South Central Indiana REMC in Martinsville. “We are linking Hoosiers to each other and to the world.”

The funds will be used for a new grant program “to bring high-speed, affordable broadband access to unserved and underserved areas of the state,” Holcomb said. Online education and better crop management are just a few of the benefits Indiana residents will reap from rural broadband, he said.

Tom VanParis, CEO of Indiana Electric Cooperatives, said the announcement demonstrates the governor’s “commitment to eliminating the ‘haves and have-nots’ and to reshaping how this vital service is made available to all Hoosiers, regardless of location.”

The study released last week by the Purdue Center for Regional Development examined the costs, benefits and investments of broadband deployment in seven Indiana co-op territories. A $4 return to the local economy was estimated for every dollar spent on the infrastructure.

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