Fiber Project Underway in Elkhart

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Officials in Elkhart have broken ground on a project aimed at boosting Internet speeds throughout Elkhart County. MapleNet Wireless Inc., the Elkhart-based company serving as project manager, says the fiber optic cable service could help the region's economic development efforts.

The Elkhart County Redevelopment Commission approved $250,000 to cover the installation, which is being performed by Mishawaka-based Direct Line Communications Inc. A similar service is already available along County Road 17 and Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder says the ultimate goal is to have a complete loop throughout the county on major highways, including State Road 19 and U.S. 33.

"The county is providing the dark fiber, but anyone can use it," said Gene Crusie, president of MapleNet. "Once an organization is connected to our local fiber we can assist the organization in connecting to regional data centers such as Mapletronics, Data Realty and Union Station or even to major national data centers located in Chicago and Indianapolis."

MapleNet Vice President of Business Development Ryan Coates says companies can begin connecting to the fiber, which will provide "substantial savings" if done before the installation is complete. The project is expected to be finished by mid-August.

Yoder says improved technology infrastructure such as fiber service is critical to attract and grow businesses in the advanced manufacturing sector. 

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