Collaborators are rallying to help families in rural Indiana unable to afford broadband services, to close the digital divide and the “homework gap,” according to Government Technology. Roberto Gallardo, assistant director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development, said two major barriers to expanding rural broadband are a lack of population density and whether residents can afford the service.
To encourage the initiative, county commissioners approved the creation of an Infrastructure Development Zone for northern portions of the county, reported Government Technology. According to Scott Rudd, Director of Broadband Opportunities, this is an essential first step, but there are other considerations the county can take.
Rudd suggested establishing a broadband task force, opening rights-of-ways, pursuing grants, and more. Government Technology noted two grant programs: Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Next Level Connections Grant Program that earmarked $100 million of state dollars to assist with rural broadband expansion and the Broadband Readiness Pilot grant program that provides a minimum of $50,000 to communities that are accepted.
Rudd added that collaboration with various stakeholders would be vital for the county’s plans to expand rural broadband service to connect low-income families and those with school-aged children to close the “homework gap.”
June 28, 2019