News Releases

Expanding rural internet access

By State Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington)

The cost of internet access is a major barrier in providing broadband to every Hoosier, and the ongoing pandemic has further confirmed the need for expansion of these services. That's why I authored Senate Bill 377, which would establish broadband programs to help distribute funds and gather data to increase internet access in our state.

With a $100 million funding commitment, SB 377 would divide broadband funding into three programs – Next Level Connections broadband, broadband connectivity and broadband adoption.

The funding would be divided among these broadband programs as follows.

  • Sixty percent of the funding would go toward the Next Level Connections broadband program, which is Indiana's existing program to bring broadband to communities without any access at all;
  • Thirty percent would go toward expanding broadband to unserved areas using existing infrastructure; and
  • Ten percent would go to the broadband adoption program, which would provide financial assistance to individuals who report that while they could theoretically access broadband, they cannot afford the internet service.

My bill would also raise Indiana's broadband standard to 25 megabits per second, matching the nationwide standard.

I drafted this legislation to help manage and distribute Indiana's federal funds in a way that would make the greatest impact in our state for generations to come. SB 377 is a step further than the broadband legislation the General Assembly has previously considered, creating incentives for counties to implement a plan for expansion by 2022 to get the ball rolling.

SB 377 has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Utilities. As a member of this committee and the author of this legislation, I look forward to presenting this bill to my colleagues.


For a high-resolution photo of Zay, click here.