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Leising: Senate District 42 benefits from nearly $73.4 million in broadband funding

Contact: Jacob Stewart, Press Secretary

Leising: District 42 benefits from nearly $73.4 million in broadband funding

STATEHOUSE (May 9, 2024) — More residents in Senate District 42 are gaining access to high-speed internet thanks to laws supported by State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg).

Following legislation passed by the General Assembly, Senate District 42 has seen a total investment of nearly $73.4 million in rural broadband infrastructure, and nearly $560 million has been invested in rural broadband around the state of Indiana.

"The internet is part of everything we do, whether that be for education, connecting with family, or any number of things," Leising said. "I have called attention to the lack of access to high-speed internet in my district in the past and am glad to see this investment in our local communities, which is sure to increase quality of life for everyone."

The Next Level Connections Program, which aims to improve access to high-quality and reliable fixed terrestrial (excluding satellite) broadband throughout rural and underserved areas, provided total investments of $5,756,100 to benefit Bartholomew, Jennings and Shelby counties during the first round of funding, $33,382,485 to benefit Jennings, Ripley, Franklin and surrounding counties during the second round of funding, and $33,129,068 to benefit Jennings, Ripley, Fayette, Decatur and surrounding counties during the third round of funding.

"Rural Indiana is at a disadvantage when it comes to getting internet companies to build the infrastructure for broadband," Leising said. "These grants level the playing field and help us work toward ensuring anyone who wants service has access."

The Indiana Connectivity Program, which seeks to connect residents and businesses without broadband internet access to service providers and help extend broadband to those locations at reduced costs, has provided a total investment of $54,507 benefitting Franklin County, $225,800 to benefit Ripley County, $81,083 benefitting Rush County, $7,200 benefitting Shelby County and $795,512 benefitting Jennings County.

Leising has supported several bills in the past five years that deal with funding for broadband projects.

Senate Enrolled Act 460 (2019) required the Office of Community and Rural Development (OCRA) to create a process for awarding grants to eligible broadband service providers from the Rural Broadband Fund after July 2019.

Senate Enrolled Act 352 (2021) mandated a new process for requesting rural broadband fund grants, including letters of intent and challenges.

Senate Enrolled Act 377 (2021) created the Indiana Broadband Connectivity Program to expand internet connectivity. It includes a public portal for reporting lack of internet access, grants for providers, and an annual report.

House Enrolled Act 1449 (2021) expanded the definition of an "eligible broadband project" to include projects for deployment of broadband infrastructure to public school buildings, rural health clinics and rural areas in Indiana. It sets priorities for awarding grants from the Rural Broadband Fund and establishes a program to expand broadband connectivity by entering into agreements with broadband service providers.

House Enrolled Act 1277 (2024) modified the Indiana statute governing broadband project grants. It requires the Indiana Broadband Office to comply with federal guidelines, including the review of subgrants and final proposal submissions when administering the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.


State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) represents Senate District 42,
which includes Decatur, Fayette, Ripley and Rush counties,
and portions of Franklin, Jennings and Shelby counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.