(STATEHOUSE) – State Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) made the following statement today on the governor’s announcement of an additional $6.3 million in Next Level Broadband grants for three projects, bringing the total funding awarded this year to $28.4 million for 14 broadband expansion projects across the state:
“In addition to the two projects in Senate District 44 that received funding through Next Level Broadband grants in August, I’m pleased to see another join the list. The Jackson County Rural Electric Membership Corporation will receive nearly $1.3 million in grant funding with a local match of nearly $4 million, bringing the total project cost to nearly $5.2 million.
“This project will serve approximately 1,050 unserved households, 25 unserved businesses, and eight anchor institutions in Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, Lawrence and Monroe counties as well as Jennings, Scott and Washington counties.
“As a co-author of Senate Enrolled Act 460 that passed during the 2019 legislative session, which established the Rural Broadband Fund for the purpose of funding broadband projects in rural areas of Indiana that need it most, it’s encouraging to see more communities are taking advantage of these grants.
“This progress has been fueled by the passage of Senate Enrolled Act 376, which I authored in 2017, that that enabled Indiana’s Rural Electric Membership Cooperatives to use their existing electric infrastructure to provide high-speed broadband internet service.
“While lawmakers have been working to improve Hoosiers’ access to broadband in recent years, there is still work to be done in rural areas across the state. I look forward to seeing the positive impact of this project, and others will have on expanding rural broadband access throughout Indiana.”
Sen. Koch serves Senate District 44, which includes all or parts of Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, Lawrence, and Monroe counties.