Expanding Access to High-Speed Internet

By: 
State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem)

As your State Senator and a resident of a rural community, I understand the importance of having high-speed internet readily available. While broadband has increased in our state, some areas still lack access, affecting hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers – many of whom live in Senate District 47.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, more than 40 percent of rural Hoosiers lack high-speed terrestrial broadband access. This puts our communities at a disadvantage because students cannot adequately access online assignments and entrepreneurs cannot reach new customer bases to expand their businesses.

Last session, I authored Senate Bill 356, which ultimately passed as House Enrolled Act 1065 and was signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb. HEA 1065 creates a grant program for qualifying broadband deployment projects in unserved areas of the state and defines upload and download speeds for “qualified broadband service.” 

HEA 1065 is a big step for Indiana toward reaching our goal of having broadband internet access available to all communities in our state. With reliable access, families, students, farmers, entrepreneurs and businesses alike will be better able to use the internet to the best of its ability and reach the national and global economy.  

Additionally, as part of Gov. Holcomb and Lt. Gov. Crouch’s Next Level Agenda, we now have an updated Indiana Broadband Map, detailing which areas of our state have little or no broadband internet access. With the help of this map, we can pinpoint where broadband access is needed most and prioritize new developments as soon as the grants are awarded.

High-speed internet is critical for all Hoosiers, and this technology is often taken for granted where access is easily available. It remains a priority of mine to ensure Hoosiers have access to these vital services. I will continue working with my colleagues around the state to bridge the digital divide in rural Indiana.

If you have any thoughts or questions regarding these or other issues, please contact me by email at Senator.Houchin@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.

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