Access to broadband and other communication services is critical for a functioning 21st century economy. Rural broadband is vital to ensuring our rural areas can continue to thrive, and when rural Indiana communities have quality broadband, they are able to keep pace with the rest of the state.
Broadband access is one of the five strategic frameworks of the Strategic Plan for Rural Indiana. Visit this page to learn more about how OCRA will facilitate strategies to address rural broadband access.
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What is broadband?
Broadband can be delivered by one of the following methods:
- Fiber optic cable: technology that converts signals carrying data through glass fibers.
- Digital Subscriber Line (DSL): Transmitting data over already installed copper telephone lines
- Cable modem: TV cables are utilized to transmit data.
- Wireless, fixed or mobile: Connects devices to a local internet service “over the air” via electromagnetic waves.
- Satellite: Transfers data through a 2-3’ dish, modem and clear line of sight to a satellite.
- 1 kbps (kilobits/second) = 1,000 bits per second.
- 1 mbps (megabits/second) = 1 million bits per second.
- 1 gbps (gigabits/second) = 1 billion bits per second.
Broadband deployment study
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) was directed in HEA 1065 to complete a study of topics related to the Indiana Universal Service Fund (IUSF) and broadband deployment by October 1, 2018. Specifically, the Commission will be studying the following:
- The types of service on which the IUSF surcharge is imposed
- The types of service for which disbursements from the IUSF may be used
- The eligibility requirements for service providers to receive disbursements from the IUSF
- Broadband deployment (expansion and improvement of access to broadband services)
- Any other matter concerning universal service reform that the Commission considers appropriate
The Commission is accepting written comments from the public and stakeholders until June 15, 2018. The public and stakeholders will then have the opportunity to provide reply comments by July 13, 2018. Visit www.in.gov/iurc/3010.htm to view how to submit comments. Comments and reply comments will be posted on this website as well.
The federal government has multiple programs, funding, and oversight related to broadband. USDA and the FCC are two of the main providers of loans and grants for broadband deployment. USDA has grant and loan programs available and the FCC also has a grant program and other information.
Complaints relating to internet service should be directed to the Federal Trade Commission.
- Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee
- Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans & Loan Guarantees
- Community Connect Grants
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) BroadbandUSA program promotes innovation and economic growth by supporting efforts to expand broadband access and meaningful use across America. BroadbandUSA serves local and state governments, industry and nonprofits that seek to expand broadband connectivity and promote digital inclusion. BroadbandUSA’s services are driven by the needs and interests of state and local broadband leaders, and focus on supporting planning efforts, helping to identify funding, and advising on local broadband program.
Sustaining Broadband Networks: A Toolkit for Local and Tribal Governments pdf
This toolkit presents an action plan to maintain and sustain a broadband network. This guide contains best practices and lessons learned from broadband programs. It is meant to help both local governments who entered into public-private partnerships and ISPs ensure that those networks are sustainable.
Implementing a Broadband Network Vision: A Toolkit for Local and Tribal Governments pdf
This toolkit builds on NTIA’s previous guidance on plotting a broadband roadmap and examines how that work can inform a broadband implementation strategy. It includes a nine-step process that outlines how to implement broadband networks from conception to operation.