INDIANAPOLIS — Faster internet speeds appear to be on the horizon for some Lawrence County residents.

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb announced the Next Level Broadband program awarded an additional $6.3 million in funding Thursday — including $1.3 million for the Jackson County Rural Electric Membership Corporation.

With a local match of nearly $4 million for a total cost of nearly $5.2 million, the project is expected to serve about 1,050 unserved households, 25 unserved businesses and eight anchor institutions in Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, Jennings, Lawrence, Monroe, Scott and Washington counties.

The grants are designed to help provide unserved areas service levels of up to one-gigabyte download and upload service.

Jackson County REMC Communications and Public Relations Specialist Nicole Ault said the non-profit cooperative continues its push to make high speed internet available to all of its 20,000 customers as soon as possible.

The grant will lower the total project cost, which can help keep prices down overall, Ault said.

In Nov. 2017, Jackson County REMC kicked off their five-year project to offer fiber internet directly to homes, but just building the main “backbone” of the system from scratch took about a year, Ault said.

When the work is completed, the current plan is to lay 2,086 miles of fiber lines.

On Thursday, Jackson County REMC connected its 2,000th member, who lives in the Cortland area.

“We’re definitely moving as fast as we can,” Ault said.

Members will receive free installation as long as they sign up for the service while Jackson County REMC is working in their area — and there are no data caps or contracts, she said.

In Lawrence County, there are 2,266 members with a plan for 203.5 miles of fiber county-wide, Ault said.

The minimum speeds available are 100 Mbps upload and download and the fastest offered is one gig upload and download.
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