The Crawford County Economic Development Partnership is partnering with Mainstream Fiber Networks in Brown County on a nearly $6 million broadband project. The collaboration, which includes $3 million in state funding, aims to build and grow high-speed fiber internet throughout the county.
The project received funding from the recently-announced second round of Governor Eric Holcomb’s Next Level Connections Broadband grant program. The grant required a local match of more than $2.7 million, which the county secured.
Holcomb’s $51 million program will support a total of 50 broadband infrastructure expansion projects around the state. The county says the total for its project will reach more than $5.7 million.
“Our community and our economy must grow and with the NLC connections grant coupled with the public and private investment, Crawford County will be able to grow the population, young families, and drive the next generation of entrepreneurs to the county,” said Michael Thissen, executive director of the Crawford County Economic Development Partnership. “We could not do this without high-speed fiber.”
Thissen, who led planning efforts with the broadband service provider and the community, says it used data from the U.S. Census Bureau as well as more than 900 surveys and emails to strategically create the plan. He says high-speed fiber access was the top priority.
“Mainstream Fiber Networks is thrilled to connect Crawford County residents and businesses with fast, affordable and reliable internet,” said Bryan Gabriel, Mainstream Fiber Networks founder and chief executive officer. “The global COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for broadband to keep rural communities connected so that everyone can have the opportunity to learn and work remotely no matter where they live.”
Mainstream Fiber Networks is also partnering on a similar program in Posey County, which also received funding from the Next Level Connections program.