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Indiana governor assures farmers that approved funding for rural broadband will remain in place.

Tom J Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

August 25, 2020

2 Min Read
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb
STRONG STAND: Speaking to reporters at the Fouts farm near Camden, Ind., Gov. Eric Holcomb reaffirmed his commitment to keep funds set aside for rural broadband expansion in place. Tom J. Bechman

There were more than soybeans on people’s minds when Gov. Eric Holcomb took questions from reporters after helping dedicate a historic marker at the Fouts farm near Camden, Ind. The marker denotes that the farm was the birthplace of the American Soybean Association during a field day held on Sept. 3, 1920 — 100 years ago.

Historians say nearly 1,000 people from six states attended that event. Many find this amazing, since there was no internet or social media to help people communicate. Internet access in rural Indiana today was very much on the minds of reporters after the dedication.

“We are still very committed to expanding high-speed, rural broadband internet access into all areas of the state,” Holcomb said. In 2018, he rolled out a program committing $100 million in state money to organizations, utilities and companies that would partner to help provide high-speed internet to rural areas. The 2019 General Assembly officially approved the funding.

Sources note that the process is underway, and about $30 million has been committed to projects so far. More projects are currently under evaluation for approval.

Indiana Prairie Farmer asked, “With the shortfall in state funds expected due to COVID-19, will that $100 million stay committed to rural broadband?”

Related:American Soybean Association celebrates 100 years

“Yes, it will,” Holcomb replied. “We have pressed pause on some other projects, but not on the rural broadband expansion program. We definitely need to move forward with partnering with others to make sure broadband expansion continues within the state.”

That’s welcome news to Indiana Farm Bureau. The organization’s president, Randy Kron, continues to push for increased efforts to get acceptable broadband service across the state. He notes that by forcing people to work from home and some students to learn virtually, the pandemic has only made it more evident that current broadband service is inadequate in many areas of Indiana.

About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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