La Porte, Marshall and Starke counties will benefit from agreements Comcast has made with Indiana’s Office of Community & Rural Affairs to bring its fiber network to unserved rural areas.
As part of Indiana’s Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program, Comcast, in partnership with state and local governments, will offer broadband service to 10,000 more homes and businesses in 19 counties.
The company will spend $36 million to add 1,200 more miles of fiber network in those areas. The state’s commitment is $13.6 million.
“Next Level Connections is used as a model by other states to deliver the best tech infrastructure to rural areas,” said Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as secretary of agriculture and rural development, in a press release. “The investments made by Comcast and other partners will not only benefit residents and businesses but also contribute to Indiana’s rural economic engine.”
Comcast also has invested $500 million in the past three years to enhance its fiber network in Indiana.
“Ensuring all Hoosiers have access to reliable, high-speed internet has been a top priority for Comcast,” said Joni Hart, vice president of government affairs for Comcast in Indiana. “As the world we live in becomes increasingly digital, we remain focused on not only bringing our broadband network to more Indiana homes and business, but also meeting the ever-increasing appetite for education, business, telemedicine, entertainment and more.”
Comcast will immediately begin work on expanding its gigabit-capable fiber network. It expects work to be completed within two years.
The company also is committed to bringing internet access to low-income households through its internet essentials program and the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program. Since 2011, the essentials program has helped 440,000 customers obtain low-cost broadband service. The federal government program offers a $30 credit toward internet and mobile services to qualifying customers.