Rural Broadband at Center of New State Position

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(photo courtesy Indiana State Department of Agriculture) (photo courtesy Indiana State Department of Agriculture)
INDIANAPOLIS -

Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch has named Scott Rudd the state's new director of broadband opportunities. Crouch says Rudd will work closely with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to help farmers and farm businesses keep up with advancing technology and help rural communities find ways to attract reliable and affordable high-speed Internet.

Rudd, who most recently served as town manager and economic development director for the town of Nashville, says its first plan of action is to create a broadband summit to bring together stakeholders from throughout the state to develop ideas on boosting rural broadband in Indiana.

"It's all about bringing all the interested parties together and working to help communities secure investment in broadband," Rudd said in an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman. "There's no one single option that works for everyone. It's kind of a variety of options. Some would say there's no silver bullet, but it's more of a silver buckshot kind of approach and so that's the approach I would expect to take moving forward."

During his time as town manager, Rudd founded the Brown County Task Force, which helped secure more than $20 million in private broadband investments, expanding access to more than 7,500 homes and businesses in the county. Crouch says Rudd's experience made him a prime choice for the position.

"Scott has made significant strides in increasing broadband access to Brown County, which is a rural community that thrives on their tourism industry," Crouch said in a news release. "His experience and dedication will help transform the broadband accessibility in our state, and I am eager for him to bring in his perspective and experience to help our rural communities."

Rudd and OCRA will also work together on the office's Broadband Readiness Plan, which will award planning grants to five communities, which will then form a plan to create a long-term vision for their rural broadband needs.

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