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Next Level Connections Broadband Grants Apps Open
Indiana Ag Connection - 12/13/2019

Governor Eric Holcomb and Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch announced details of the second round of the Next Level Connections Broadband Grant program, which includes a new application and challenge process.

"While we still have far too many Hoosiers without access to affordable high-speed internet, Next Level Broadband is off to a great start," Holcomb said. "I'm excited to see more projects moving forward with the single largest investment in broadband in our state's history as this will positively impact quality of life, agriculture, economic development and our families."

This is the second round of the $100 million broadband grant program. Broadband providers and utility cooperatives can apply for up to $5 million to expand service to unserved areas if they provide a minimum 20 percent match of the total allowable project costs. Unserved areas are without at least one broadband provider offering internet of at least 10 mbps download and 1 mbps upload. Proposed projects must provide a minimum level of service at actual speeds of 25 mbps download and 3 mbps upload. In order to apply, applicants must first submit a letter of intent to provide the list of census blocks they intend on applying for funding. Prior to the full application due date, a challenge period will open for 30 days.

Holcomb has asked Crouch, along with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, to oversee the program.

"Connecting Indiana and bridging the rural digital divide is a top priority for our administration," said Crouch. "With an eye to the future, we are continuing to invest in broadband to better connect Hoosiers to each other, to the nation and to the world. As far as we've come, we know there's more to do to help our rural communities achieve their full potential."

The grant program is a component of Gov. Holcomb's Next Level Connections initiative, a $1 billion statewide infrastructure program announced last year. The first round of funding awarded $28.41 million to 14 projects, for a total investment of $51.68 million. The total first round funding will provide broadband infrastructure to more than 11,300 homes and commercial locations in 18 counties.

Applications and more information can be found on ocra.in.gov/nlc.htm. The deadline for letters of intent is Jan. 6 by 3 p.m. ET.

Grant application questions can be sent to nlc@ocra.in.gov.

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