Comcast plans to spend $36 million to deploy fiber broadband to unserved and underserved areas of 19 Indiana counties. The news comes now that the company has signed contracts with the state, which will contribute $13.6 million toward total project costs of $50 million.
A Comcast spokesman confirmed that Comcast was awarded the funding, which came through the Indiana Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program, last year.
Comcast’s contribution covers about 72% of total project costs, which is a hefty portion, in comparison with what we’ve seen from some other companies that have received government broadband funding. The spokesperson confirmed that in other parts of the state, Comcast has been able to minimize the investment it has to make in a project by leveraging existing infrastructure.
Traditionally, cable companies didn’t tap government funding programs, but all that changed when Charter successfully bid to get over $1 billion in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) broadband funding program. The company said at that time that the RDOF money would only cover about a quarter of project costs.
Charter sees rural areas as a great way of attracting new customers on both the broadband and video services side.
Since Charter’s big move, Comcast also has been aggressive in pursuing government broadband funding. The company already has been awarded funding in South Carolina, West Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama.
It’s worth noting that while cable companies continue to upgrade existing hybrid fiber coax infrastructure to support higher speeds, they are opting to deploy fiber broadband in areas they don’t already serve – and Comcast’s Indiana build is no exception.
The 19 Indiana counties where Comcast will be building using the state funding are Allen, Bartholomew, Carroll, Cass, Delaware, Fayette, Hendricks, Jennings, Johnson, Hamilton, Huntington, La Porte, Madison, Marshall, Montgomery, Morgan, Porter, Starke and Wayne.