During the 2019 legislative session, I authored Senate Enrolled Act 460 to address the growing disparity among rural communities and their urban and suburban counterparts. SEA 460 establishes a rural broadband grant program to ensure that unserved and underserved communities have access to adequate broadband.

The grant program will provide $100 million to improve broadband access across the state and will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will address areas that currently do not have broadband service providers. The second phase will address underserved areas.

An unserved or underserved area is defined as a census block that does not have, at the time of application, at least one broadband provider offering actual speeds of at least 10 megabits per second (mbps) download and 1 mbps upload, or an area where there is not a potential provider.

To date, there are more than 37,000 census blocks in Indiana eligible for the program. Eligible applicants must be an established entity able to deliver broadband service to residential/end-user customers.

The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs will be responsible for the application development, distribution and processing of the grant. The director of broadband development will be responsible for community and provider engagement.

Additionally, the Indiana Department of Transportation will administer grant funding and provide technical support. The maximum grant amount may be up to $5 million if the provider matches 20% of the grant.

To learn more about the broadband grant program and to learn if a broadband provider has submitted an application for your area click, here.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding this topic or others, contact me by email at Senator.Leising@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.