County Commissioners & Invest Hamilton County Committed to Extending Access
The Hamilton County Commissioners and Invest Hamilton County have attracted an estimated $9 million to expand broadband access to nearly 3,600 unserved or underserved homes, businesses, and farms in the county. The funding, which comes from a mix of federal, state, and private sources, will be used to extend high-speed internet access, including fiber optic access.
Hamilton County has advanced its broadband expansion initiative through the formation of a Broadband Task Force, a diverse group of stakeholders representing agriculture, education, health, business, economic development, and local leadership. The group’s goal is to identify broadband connectivity issues within the county. Using mapping information along with analysis from government advisors at Katz, Sapper & Miller, the Commissioners, Invest Hamilton County, and the Broadband Task Force have identified areas that are unserved or underserved and will be developing a strategic plan for future investment.
“Commissioners Altman, Dillinger, and I are pleased with the efforts of the county to get broadband to more residents than ever before.” Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt said. “The work done by Invest Hamilton County and our Broadband Taskforce has positioned us to successfully receive grants from federal, state, and private sources both now and in the future. While we are pleased by the progress made, we understand there is much more work ahead of us to get broadband connectivity to as many residents as possible.”
To see if your location is now funded as a part of one of the federal investments, visit https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/maps/rdof-phase-i-dec-2020. Please note, LTD Broadband defaulted on 181 locations ($151,116) in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction. These locations are no longer funded through this program, and the county is currently seeking new investors in those areas. The RDOF federal investments are anticipated to be deployed over the next six years, and the county is actively working to reduce this timeline by working with providers to expedite permits, streamline infrastructure investments and provide coordination as utilities seek to serve unserved areas.
How can you help attract broadband to your neighborhood?
Underserved residents and businesses play a critical role in helping attract investment to your area. If you still need high-speed internet service, please visit the following two websites to help the county attract investments to your location:
Indiana Farm Bureau Speed Test: https://www.infarmbureau.org/resources/broadband-speed-test
Taking the test will allow residents to determine their current internet speed and provide important data to ensure unserved or underserved areas are eligible for upcoming broadband grants and private investment. Indiana Farm Bureau formed the Indiana Broadband Strategic Partnership (IBSP) to expand reliable broadband service to Indiana’s most unserved and underserved communities. IBSP also includes Cook Medical Group, Duke Energy Foundation, Indiana Association of Realtors, Radius Indiana, and the Regional Opportunity Initiative.
Indiana Connectivity Program: https://indianaegms.force.com/nlc/s/login/SelfRegister?locale=us
The Indiana Connectivity Program is designed to provide faster grant funding to smaller neighborhoods or locations that are currently near, but just out of reach of, an existing provider. Hamilton County received funding from the program to provide rapid service to 12 locations that were near an existing provider but not close enough to make an extension possible. The residents at those locations signed up for the new program through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs’ (OCRA) Indiana Connectivity Program. Residents and businesses are encouraged to sign up for the program so that providers can apply to receive grant funds, on a rolling basis, to serve those locations.
The County, Invest Hamilton County and the Broadband Taskforce will continue to provide updates and inform residents about how they can help attract investment to Hamilton County.