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Feds green-light nearly $900M for high-speed internet in Indiana

Feds release $868 million for broadband expansion in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Holcomb administration officials on Monday said new federal funding could start bringing broadband to underserved areas by the end of the year.

The U.S. Department of Commerce formally approved Indiana’s broadband expansion program, clearing the way for $868 million in new high-speed internet infrastructure investments over the next 10 years. The funding is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“The internet is now the essential tool for communications in our modern world,” Alan Davidson, assistant secretary of Commerce for communications and Information, said, “and yet here we are in 2024 and there are still thousands and thousands of homes across Indiana, millions of homes across America, where you can’t get good, reliable, high-speed internet service.”

A little more than 10% of all households in Indiana had no internet access in 2022, a figure that rises to nearly 15% in rural areas. Another 8.5% of Indiana households have internet access solely through cellular data. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said expanding broadband access has been a priority since he took office in 2017.

“It’s not just an advantage to be connected to broadband, it’s a necessity,” he said. “It really does break down barriers no matter where you live.”

Biden administration officials have said their goal is to connect everyone in America to high-speed internet by 2030. The current federal standard is 100 megabits per second (Mbps) of download speed and 20 Mbps of upload speed, up from the previous standard of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Indiana Chief Broadband Officer Stephen Cox said areas that lack internet meeting the old 25/3 Mbps standard will get first priority. The second priority will go to areas with internet speeds above 25/3 Mbps but below the current 100/20 Mbps standard.

Cox said the state will start selecting projects to fund late this year. He said the first round of grant awards could go out by December.

“The time frame will probably depend more on the individual internet service providers and the resources that they have,” he said, adding geography will play a role in how quickly broadband can be added as well.

President Joe Biden and other federal leaders first announced Indiana was allocated the money in June 2023.