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Smithville marks completion of fiber broadband project

(photo courtesy of Smithville Communications Inc.)

ELLETTSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Officials from Ellettsville-based Smithville are Thursday celebrating the completion of a $2.7 million rural fiber internet project in Tipton and Howard counties. The company says the project, which was funded in part by the state’s Next Level Connections Broadband Grant program, will provide, high-speed, fiber-based internet for hundreds of homes. 

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Host Gerry Dick, Smithville President Paul Quick said the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for high-speed broadband internet, particularly in rural areas.

“If you have a great broadband product at your home or your business, you really appreciate it right now,” said Quick. “But for those people who have mediocre broadband experiences, they could be in the middle of a meeting where they’re working remotely and their whole system freezes up because they don’t have a quality product. I think that COVID has really heightened our awareness to everyone needs great internet in our communities.”

As part of the project, Smithville installed 36 miles of new fiber optics and upgraded its network equipment. Additionally, the company upgraded 117 existing copper-based service customers to fiber connectivity.

Smithville officials will be joined by Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch and other state and local officials to mark the project’s completion at the Baird Family Farm in Tipton County. The event “lit up” the first of more than 500 homes that will receive the upgraded service.

“This type of project achieves high-speed rural fiber connectivity to underserved areas of Indiana, bringing new advantages and possibilities to Hoosiers,” Crouch said in a news release. “Smithville’s investment and vision help fulfill what Gov. Eric Holcomb and the state supports to connect Hoosiers through the Indiana Next Level Connections Broadband program.”

Smithville says it will immediately begin adding more than 160 new customers who have already signed up for the new fiber service.

You can see more of the interview with Paul Quick on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.