Like the expansion of electric services to homes in the early 20th century, increasing the state's broadband footprint is vital to Indiana's growth in the 21st century.
For the last several years, I've been working in the Senate to increase high-speed internet access throughout the state.
In 2018, Purdue University estimated that almost 100,000 Hoosiers lived in "internet darkness," meaning they lacked access to reliable high-speed internet.
The following year, I authored Senate Enrolled Act 460, which set the framework for the state's Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program.
The bill, which received strong bipartisan support, also made it easier for providers to access rights of way throughout Indiana.
On Jan. 4, Gov. Holcomb announced his Next Level Agenda for 2023, which includes expanding broadband access to underserved areas across the state by moving ahead with another round of grant funding.
In its first three rounds, Indiana has awarded $268 million to improve the broadband infrastructure around the state.
During the program's third round, more than $8.7 million was given to local providers to help provide broadband access to about 2,100 households and 250 businesses across Senate District 48.
Expanding access to high-speed internet is a critical component to improving the quality of life and business environment in rural Indiana, and I am pleased to see the governor working to continue bringing access to this important infrastructure to all Hoosiers.
As this year's session gets underway, feel free to contact my office directly with your questions and concerns by email at Senator.Messmer@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.
State Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) represents Senate District 48, which
includes Crawford, Dubois, Gibson, Perry, Pike and Spencer counties.
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