GREENFIELD - Greenfield-based NineStar Connect has expanded fiber optic service in 10 Indiana counties. The utility co-op says it has invested $54 million into new infrastructure over the last six years. In that time NineStar Connect says it has installed more than 1,500 miles of fiber optic cable.

The footprint of the expansion includes Fayette, Hamilton, Hancock, Henry, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Morgan, Rush and Shelby counties. NineStar Connect says growth in fiber installation is a response to customers seeking an alternative to national providers.

Hancock County Economic Development Council Executive Director Skip Kuker says "from a business and residential perspective, the availability of broadband provides benefits for both ends .The availability of broadband is what attracts good-paying jobs to the area and opens up the community to a wider and more diverse workforce. At home, broadband fuels e-learning and remote working opportunities, as well as entertainment."

NineStar Connect says the expansion is part of a mission to help "empower thoughtful economic development and improve quality of place" throughout the region. Chief Executive Officer Michael Burrow says "no matter where you choose to live or work you should be connected to the best essential services needed for communities to thrive."