Bartholomew County adding contractor to weigh broadband proposals

Bartholomew County Commissioners will be bringing in a contractor to help them evaluate proposals for rural broadband internet.

Earlier this month, the commissioners had sought proposals from companies that were willing to provide rural broadband to the county, for a share of $4 million set aside from federal COVID-19 relief funds. Two companies submitted proposals, AT&T and Meridiam Infrastructure North American Corp.

But commissioners said yesterday that the proposals are extremely detailed and technical. Commissioner Carl Lienhoop said each of the proposals were more than 100 pages. Commissioner Tony London said that they would be doing a great injustice to the people of the county if they did not get a professional opinion.

To help them decipher the proposals, they are hiring Scott Rudd, a statewide expert in broadband. Previously Rudd worked in the lieutenant governor’s office on broadband issues. Rudd would be paid $125 an hour to evaluate the proposals, not to exceed $10,000.

Commissioners still hope to be able to make a decision within a few weeks.