Holcomb announces $400 million in broadband grants

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday said the latest round of Next Level grants will connect nearly 53,000 homes and businesses.

The governor’s comments came during an event with the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce. He said good internet connections are as important as roads and bridges if Indiana wants to remain economically competitive. Holcomb said the state is focusing on high-tech jobs such as life sciences and chip manufacturing when it decides which employers to recruit.

The latest round of Next Level broadband grants total $429 million. Of that total, the governor’s office said $189 million comes from the state and the rest comes from matches by telecom companies. The grants will go toward users in 80 counties, including five of the counties bordering Marion County.

Holcomb said the program still prioritizes users who have no broadband connection at all. As that number dwindles, he said the program will shift to improving existing service.

“It’s got to do with access. It’s got to do with affordability. It’s got to do with speed,” he said. “We don’t want to overbuild but we do want to make sure folks who lack speed, whether it be in the field or doing homework, have the ability to do that.”