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Bill Tries To Spur Internet Growth In 'Broadband Ready Communities'

Justin Marty

The Indiana Rural Broadband Working Group, convened last year, developed a report for the legislature identifying steps towards blanketing the state with quality broadband coverage. 

Representative Eric Koch (R- Bedford), who served on the working group, says a first step is the creation of a new designation – Broadband Ready Communities. 

To earn the label, created by a bill Koch authored, locals must meet several criteria.  Those include eliminating application and permit fees, establishing a single point of contact for all communications projects, and streamlining permit and zoning processes. 

Koch notes that earning the designation isn’t necessarily a guarantee that providers will flock to communities.

“But a community who develops this procedure and follows these protocols and brings the standardization certainly positions themselves well, whether it’s from a large national carrier or one of the many robust and innovative small [telecommunications companies] we have operating here in Indiana,” Koch says.

Koch says he’ll be watching closely to see how many communities take advantage of the designation in its first year as the legislature determines the program’s effectiveness. 

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.