INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana's Office of Community and Rural Affairs is detailing plans to offer Broadband Readiness Planning grants. OCRA says it will select five communities for the pilot program and help them identify broadband needs and develop long-term strategies to achieve those goals.

The office will select the communities based on criteria including location, geography, population density, unserved or underserved population and previous broadband efforts. The maximum grant amount is $50,000, and OCRA will announce its selections next month. The Purdue Center for Regional Development will provide technical assistance to the chosen communities.

The announcement comes a day after Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch named Scott Rudd the state's first director of broadband opportunities. Rudd most recently served as town manager and economic development director for the town of Nashville. He says he will begin by developing a broadband summit to bring together stakeholders from throughout the state to share ideas in boosting broadband in rural Indiana.