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Zay: Bill to expand rural internet access passes Senate

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 23, 2021) — A bill authored by State Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) that would expand rural internet access passed the Indiana Senate today unanimously.

Senate Bill 377 would divide broadband funding among three programs to help distribute funds and gather data to increase internet access in Indiana.

Funding would be divided among the following broadband programs:

  • Next Level Connections Broadband Program, which is Indiana's existing program to bring broadband to communities without any access at all;
  • Indiana Broadband Connectivity Program, which would go toward expanding broadband to unserved areas using existing infrastructure; and
  • Indiana 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.

"After seeing the effect this pandemic has had on our broadband capabilities, I felt it was more necessary than ever for us to address the disparities between urban and rural broadband access," Zay said. "I'm happy to have garnered support from my colleagues in the Senate, and I look forward to working with members in the House to ensure this bill becomes law."

SB 377 would also increase Indiana's broadband standard to 25 megabits per second, matching the nationwide standard. Funding for this bill will be addressed in the state budget bill, House Bill 1001.

SB 377 will now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.


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