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MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Two businesses are launching a joint effort to accelerate the delivery of fiber broadband internet to south-central Indiana.

Ellettsville-based Smithville Communications Inc. and electric cooperative SCI REMC have announced a partnership to get high-speed internet to 3,400 customers around Ellettsville, Lake Monroe, and Gosport.

“Smithville is pleased to partner with SCI REMC for this project,” said Darby McCarty, chairman and chief executive officer of Smithville. “We both serve customers in the same geographic area, so it makes sense to work together to provide service, particularly with the high cost to build in rural areas.”

Even though the two organizations are jointly building the infrastructure, residential and business customers will be able to choose service from either Smithville or SCI REMC.

Both companies will independently market services to customers within the project area.

The two organizations say building separate physical fiber networks represents a costly option.

“By working with Smithville, we are able to meet our electric smart grid needs and ensure businesses and residents have access to world-class high-speed internet in the most expeditious, fiscally responsible way possible,” said James Tanneberger, president and CEO of SCI REMC

SCI REMC, which is based in Martinsville, says it plans to continue building its own fiber network beyond the common service area where members currently don’t have access to high-speed internet.

The project will begin immediately and is expected to be completed by June of 2023.

ELLETTSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A collaboration to bring a long-term vision to Ellettsville has been awarded a Community Impact Grant by the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, along with the Smithville Charitable Foundation. Envision Ellettsville received the $30,000 grant to increase affordable housing and to cultivate connections within the county. 

The collaboration between the Greater Ellettsville Area Chamber of Commerce and Ellettsville Main Street is one of 11 Community Impact Grants.

“There is a palpable excitement about Ellettsville and our community’s future,” said Liz Irwin, president of the Greater Ellettsville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors. “There is a lot of interest from new and existing businesses looking at Ellettsville as a place to grow. We created the Envision Ellettsville project to be collaborative and purposeful in planning to ensure that everyone who wants to participate can.”

The grant will specifically fund research, analysis of the research and recommendations as part of the long-term vision. The Envision Ellettsville steering committee is in the planning phase to find a consultant to manage the research and analysis to make an action plan. 

“Our two organizations bring complementary perspectives to the project,” said Ellettsville Main Street, Inc. President Leasa Siscoe. “Together, we see building on our common goals to help create a thriving community that people want to live in, work in, and visit.”

The committee’s goal is to raise $55,000 for the first phase, which will focus on the community-wide vision. The remainder, after the $30,000 grant, will be raised through donations.