Internet darkness- that’s the term that Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch uses when she talks about the connectivity issues plaguing rural communities across Indiana. A little over a year ago, Crouch added Scott Rudd to her team as the first state Director of Broadband Opportunities, a role created to help find available resources at the federal level as well as help provide information to local communities tackling this important issue.
Rudd says that in just that year since he’s been on the job, he can see that the conversation has changed significantly. At first, the question was, “Do we need broadband?” Now, the question is, “How fast can we get it?”
“From the state legislature to the administration, there’s been really tremendous progress in allowing REMC’s to participate in this game, in allowing for exemptions for taxes for this investment, we’re seeing broadband task forces stand up across the state at the county and community level.”
Rudd says broadband is needed if we’re going to stop the exodus of people and businesses from rural communities.
“You hear a lot about technology and all of the fiber optic, and 5G, and internet of things, and driverless tractors, and such, but really what this comes down to is people…it’s about helping people who are our neighbors, our friends, our family members, our children, our grandparents, helping them have a high quality of life and stay in these rural areas where we live and want to live and continue to live for generations.”
Rudd adds that communities need people and organizations to get involved to fix the issue.
“What I’m finding traveling the state and talking with communities is, in many cases, these communities don’t have anyone who’s technically responsible for attracting this investment in place. So, that’s the first step…get the school corporation, and the community foundation, and Farm Bureau, (Indiana) Corn and Soy members, and commissioners, and council members together and say, ‘We think we have an issue. How do we fix it?’”
The following links direct you to the appropriate sites to learn how a community can become broadband ready.