Dale, English part of broadband readiness pilot

From Local Sources

INDIANAPOLIS — Dale and English are two of five communities across the state selected to receive funding from a Broadband Readiness Planning Grant.

The communities will receive a grant of $50,000 as part of the Community Development Block Grant program and will be provided with technical assistance from the Purdue Center for Regional Development to assist them in expanding or deploying high-speed broadband internet.

The grant recipients — announced Wednesday by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the director of broadband opportunities — include Dale; English, in partnership with Marengo and Milltown; Greene County, including Bloomfield, Jasonville, Switz City and Worthington; Marshall County, including Bremen, Culver and La Paz; and Starke County, including Hamlet, Knox and North Judson.

“Governor Holcomb and I believe that rural Indiana is our next great economic development frontier and it is important we are not leaving rural Indiana and the Hoosiers that call it home behind,” Crouch said. “This grant, along with the recent Next Level Connections announcement the governor made last week, will help bring high-speed, reliable and affordable Internet to the entire state.”

The communities, who applied for the grant program and were evaluated on federal criteria along with supplied data on location, geography, density, unserved/underserved areas and previous efforts — will be a part of a pilot program that will educate and help shape how broadband can be established throughout the entire state.

State Sen. Erin Houchin, R-Salem, authored the legislation last legislative session that established the Broadband Planning Grant program.

“Last session, I was proud to author and pass legislation creating a grant program for broadband expansion in unserved areas of the state,” Houchin said. “We know that high-speed internet is critical for Hoosier families, students, farmers and businesses, and providing affordable and efficient broadband service to all communities is one of my top priorities.”

The Purdue Center for Regional Development will assist the pilot communities, and will continue to help the state get Hoosiers out of Internet darkness. The funding for the Community Development Block Grant program comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is administered by OCRA.

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