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Unserved Areas

Grant Overview

The Next Level Connections (NLC) Broadband Grant Program is designed to promulgate access to reliable and affordable broadband service to all areas of the state, which is necessary for a highly functioning 21st century economy. This is a part of Governor Holcomb’s broader Next Level Connections infrastructure program. The program builds upon investments made through industry funds, along with prior and ongoing grant programs. Yet, there are still areas of Indiana that remain unserved for a range of economic and topographical considerations. Purdue University found that Indiana has the potential to gain billions in economic benefits over 20 years with full deployment of broadband into rural areas.

Affordable, high-speed broadband has become a business, educational, and personal necessity. Hoosiers should be able to connect to reliable broadband regardless of where they are located within the State. NLC Broadband assists in bridging the digital divide by bringing high-speed, affordable broadband to rural Indiana. The program aides in the creation of a fully integrated network that maximizes the state’s economic competitiveness and solidifies Indiana’s role as the Crossroads of America.

The purpose of the program is to provide funds for the deployment of broadband infrastructure to provide eligible broadband service to end users, which include households, businesses and community anchor institutions, across Indiana. The Office of Community and Rural Affairs is responsible for administering the program on behalf of the Office of Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, and the Office of Governor Eric Holcomb. OCRA anticipates that the applications will be submitted through collaboration between the community and eligible broadband service provider.

Approximately $70 million of grant funding is available for new eligible projects. OCRA may issue one, multiple, or no awards based on eligible applications. Individual award amounts may vary, up to $5 million. Awarded projects must be completed within 24 months from the date of the executed grant agreement.

For more information on how to apply, visit our application page. If you are looking for information on Round 1 awards, visit this page. Here is a list of census blocks that have been funded through Rounds 1 and 2 of this program.

Most Recent News

Program dates

Application Issue DateDecember 10, 2019
LOI Informational webinar - watch hereDecember 17, 2019
Deadline for Letters of Intent SubmissionFebruary 6, 2020
Full Application Informational webinar - learn moreFebruary 17, 2020
Deadline for Challenges SubmissionMarch 9, 2020
Expected Date for Challenge DecisionsApril 1, 2020
Submission Deadline for Full ApplicationsMay 26, 2020 
Expected Date for SelectionsSeptember 15, 2020

All deadlines above include a 3 p.m. ET deadline. 

Eligible Project Area

Determination of the available broadband service is based on the following:

  • The most recent available data from the FCC Form 477 (June 2018) will be used to determine existing service levels. Federal Communication Commission Fixed Broadband Deployment Map: https://broadbandmap.fcc.gov/
  • Because this data is collected on a census block level and can overstate the availability of services, an applicant is permitted to provide additional information to demonstrate that the proposed service area is unserved.
  • Additional information must be sufficient to conclude that an area is eligible and may include but is not limited to: 
    • Statistically significant survey data for the designated area, or
    • Documentation of the location of existing infrastructure within a given census block.
  • Click to view the list of Eligible Unserved Census Blocks or view the interactive map below.


Questions about this program and application? Email NLC@ocra.in.gov.