WHITLEY COUNTY - Unincorporated areas of Whitley County are now considered a broadband ready community, which could help clear the way if a telecommunications firm wants to establish high-speed internet in rural areas of the county.

The Whitley County Economic Development Corp. says the State of Indiana has certified the county with that designation. The town of Larwill is included in the certification.

According to Whitley County EDC, the designation means the county is committed to taking necessary steps, such as easement approval, in a timely manner to help telecom companies. The state statute requires all permit applications for a broadband project in the designated zone to be approved or denied within 10 business days after they are filed.

“This certification sends a signal to the telecommunication industry that Whitley County is ready for broadband infrastructure investment,” said Kennedy St. George, Whitley County EDC director of marketing. “Broadband is just as important for economic success in the rural county areas as it is in the city and towns.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. oversees the designation process. IEDC says investment in broadband infrastructure is not guaranteed once a community obtains the certification, but by reducing the regulatory hurdles it helps increase the chances. 

“As commissioners, we know broadband is important to the residents of Whitley County,” said George Schrumpf, Whitley County commissioner chairman. “We are proud to do our part to help communicate with investors that Whitley County has reduced the barriers for broadband infrastructure investment.”
 
Whitley County EDC says the certification does not guarantee any funding for a broadband project, but it was a requirement if money does become available.