New Indiana Connectivity Program Aims To Help Rural Hoosiers
STATEHOUSE (Oct. 1, 2021) – Vanderburgh County lawmakers encourage local residents and businesses with slow or no broadband internet service to apply for help using the newly launched Indiana Connectivity Program.
State Rep. Tim O’Brien (R-Evansville) said the program, established by legislation he supported, will spread high-speed broadband to unserved and underserved Hoosiers. Those without a quality internet connection can report their address and information using the Next Level Connectionsportal at in.gov/ocra/broadband/icp or by calling the Indiana Broadband Connect Center during business days from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) at 833-639-8522.
“Increasing access to reliable broadband helps boost our economy,” O’Brien said. “Whether it’s marketing a business, working remotely or selling products online, a dependable internet connection is essential for day-to-day tasks. It also helps encourage entrepreneurship as many Hoosiers launch their own companies online. No matter where you live, high-speed broadband should be accessible.”
O’Brien was also a co-sponsor for Senate Enrolled Act 377, which establishes the Indiana broadband connectivity program for the purpose of expanding the availability of broadband Internet connectivity throughout Indiana.
State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) said the program will connect qualifying residents and businesses with broadband in their area and also help providers by assisting in the expense of extending service to those locations. To be eligible for assistance, a location must experience speeds of less than 25 Mbps (download) and 3 Mbps (upload).
“Our education and public health systems are increasingly dependent on online communication,” McNamara said. “Whether you’re taking a college course online or scheduling a virtual doctor’s appointment, unreliable internet can be a huge hindrance. This program will help connect underserved Hoosiers and businesses.”
Internet providers will review service requests and submit bids to the state to extend broadband to those eligible areas. State Rep. Matt Hostettler (R-Patoka) said the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs will evaluate bids and award funding.
“I encourage you to use the Next Level Connections website to report slow speeds and let providers know where broadband needs to be extended,” Hostettler said.
Funded projects must be completed in nine months. Hoosiers should know that submitting their location to the state does not guarantee service will be extended.
“The Indiana Connectivity Program will aid unserved and underserved Hoosiers in getting better access to reliable, high-speed broadband internet service,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “This program would not be possible without the diligent efforts of the General Assembly and the law the legislature passed earlier this year that creates this new tool to connect Hoosiers. I am grateful for our state’s continued commitment to expanding broadband to all corners of Indiana.”
Hoosiers can visit in.gov/ocra/broadband/icp for more information about the program and to apply for assistance.