Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced a new program aiming to help more Hoosiers obtain access to reliable and quality broadband. Homeowners and business owners can apply for consideration for the Indiana Connectivity Program, which opens for applicants on Monday, Sept. 27. This new tool can connect residents and businesses that lack internet service with internet service providers and assist in the expense of extending broadband to unserved and underserved locations.”The Indiana Connectivity Program aims to bring high quality broadband service to unserved and underserved Hoosiers,” Crouch said. “The last year and a half has shined a light on the severe importance of having everyone connected. This program is a path to bring service to households and businesses that are in internet darkness or have speeds that are not meeting the demands on our students who are eLearning or our workforce teleworking.” Beginning Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, Hoosiers and business owners lacking internet connectivity can communicate their interest by entering their address and information into the Next Level Connections portal at in.gov/ocra/broadband. Hoosiers can also initiate interest by calling the Indiana Broadband Connect Center, which is open on business days from from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., ET, starting Monday, Sept. 27. Hoosiers can reach the call center at 833-639-8522.”Through this program, we can help more Hoosiers, especially those in rural areas, have better access to quality internet service,” said OCRA Executive Director Denny Spinner. “The Indiana Connectivity Program is one more step toward expanding broadband accessibility to all corners of Indiana.” To be eligible, a location must have access to actual speeds of less than 25 Mbps (download) and 3 Mbps (upload). Inputting location information into the Next Level Connections Broadband portal does not guarantee extension of service. Eligible locations submitted will be available to service providers within 90 days. Next Level Connections Broadband Program funding may be available to assist in expanding internet opportunities to these locations, following a 60-day bidding process. Once awarded, providers must complete their projects within nine months of the contract date. For more information, visit in.gov/ocra/broadband/icp.
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