LaGrange County REMC received a $1.63 million grant from the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) to expand the current fiber broadband project to include an additional 1,204 unserved homes and businesses in LaGrange County.
RDOF is an FCC initiative to help fund broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas in rural America. The FCC’s RDOF program will direct up to $9.23 billion over 10 years to finance up to gigabit-speed broadband networks in those areas.
The RDOF grant comes after LaGrange County REMC received $5 million in financial support from the Major Moves Fund from LaGrange County. These funds will be combined to launch LaGrange County REMC’s broadband project. In total, LaGrange County REMC will invest about $25 million in the community to improve the region’s technology infrastructure. The original project would have brought fiber broadband to 5,435 households, but with the additional RDOF funding, the project was expanded to include 6,639 households. These additional households are non-electric members.
“We are excited to be the vehicle that brings high-speed broadband service to LaGrange County,” said Mark Leu, chief executive officer at LaGrange County REMC. “We are happy to play a part in providing our members with this life-changing technology.”
Construction on the project began this past summer and LaGrange County residents will begin experiencing the fastest, most reliable internet technology available anywhere with connections starting in 2022 and continuing through 2023.
The fiber project for LaGrange County will offer speeds up to a gigabit per second.
Fiber optic broadband is a future-proof technology that increases property values and improves the quality of life. Fiber broadband means better access to health care through telemedicine, more educational opportunities through distance learning, increased opportunities for economic development, and of course a better video streaming and gaming experience. The potential is unlimited.
Bill Bradley, former president and chief executive officer of the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation, said the fiber optic broadband network will give LaGrange County businesses a competitive edge.
“This is the kind of project that is transformational for this region,” Bradley said. “It will bring us into the 21st century with access to quality high-speed internet for the citizens of LaGrange County.”