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Biden administration approves Indiana's plan to spend $868M for improved internet access

A map of Indiana, outlined by county, with small blue and red dots across it. Rural counties have the largest concentration of dots, while urban counties – like Marion – only have one or two.
Screenshot of ConnectingIndiana.com
This map of Indiana shows locations that are considered unserved (red dots) and underserved (blue dots), according to the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program definitions.

Indiana is cleared to go “from planning to action” in connecting Hoosiers with affordable high-speed internet under a federal program.

The Biden administration announced Monday it approved the state’s plan to use $868 million in funding.

Assistant U.S. Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson said the money — approved in the 2021 federal infrastructure package — will go to internet service providers to connect people who are unserved or underserved.

“This is really our chance to connect everyone in America with the tools they need to thrive in the modern, digital economy,” Davidson said.

The program defines unserved as those without access to internet with at least 25 Mbps download speed and 3 Mbps upload speed. Underserved are those download speeds of less than 100 Mbps and 20 Mbps upload speed.

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Gov. Eric Holcomb said the federal money follows more than $1 billion in spending in recent years by state, local and private sector partners.

“It’s not just an advantage to be connected via broadband. It’s a necessity,” Holcomb said. “And it really does break down barriers, no matter where you live — urban, rural or suburban."

The state expects to begin awarding grants to providers this fall.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.