Bartholomew County sees some interest in rural broadband providers

Jackson County REMC is making plans to begin providing high speed internet to some Bartholomew County customers, according to county commissioners.

County Commissioner Tony London said that the REMC plan and other announcements will soon be unveiled after confidentiality agreements were lifted last week on bidders who offered to provide high speed internet to rural parts of the state under a federal bidding process.

London has been heading up the county’s efforts to improve internet access in remote parts of the county. He said that Jackson County REMC is definitely going to be building out service in the southeastern part of Bartholomew County. He said that work is expected to start early next year for a small part of the county.

A company called Charter won one of the auctions and they will be providing broadband internet in the southwestern part of the county. And at least two more companies are considering providing service in the northeastern and northwestern corners of the county. But commissioners stressed that the actual plans are not yet concrete and there are as of yet no dates for digging to start.

Following yesterday’s regular county commissioners meeting, the commissioners were meeting to discuss ways to lower any obstacles that companies might face in bringing broadband services to the county, said Commissioners President Larry Kleinhenz. Kleinhenz said the goal is to make the bidders want to come to Bartholomew County first, rather than waiting years to build services here.

Between state and federal funds, about $250 million dollars in new money is being allocated to improve rural broadband in Indiana, London said.