Rural Indiana

Surf Internet has completed almost 60% of a fiber buildout based on a public-private partnership in Newton County, Indiana.

Surf will contribute $6.6 million toward project costs and the Newton County Economic Development Commission (EDC) will contribute $4 million. When the project is done — which Surf Internet says will be by the end of the year — 1 Gbps fiber service will be available to 3,839 Newton County households.

The completed project will provide access to service to more than 97% of the county. This includes Lake Township, incorporated areas of Lake Village, Roselawn, Thayer and extremely rural areas of the county. Currently, fiber has reached almost half of the households.

“Newton County is a perfect example of Surf’s vision for the rural communities of the Great Lakes region,” Surf CEO Gene Crusie said in a press release. “Our primary dedication is to rural areas like theirs, which have long been neglected and lacking in services. Despite the absence of major urban hubs to entice large ISPs, these communities deserve access to high-speed internet just like any other.”

Surf first came to the area in 2020, when it mounted a $1.7 million project through the federal E-Rate Program. That project served the North Newton School District and led to deployment of fiber to 322 households through the state of Indiana’s Next Level Connections (NLC) Broadband Grant Program last year.

Surf said it is applying for $3.9 million in state funding in Round 4 of the NLC program. If approved, the funding will bring locations served in Newton county to nearly 100%.

Surf Internet serves Michigan and Illinois, in addition to Indiana and has won broadband funding in at least two of those states.

It is not the only provider involved in public-private partnerships in the Hoosier State. AT&T has won several partnerships in the state. The carrier is involved in projects in Lawrence County, Vanderburgh County, the city of Boonville, the city of Martinsville and Delaware County.

Information about Indiana broadband, including links to state funding resources and state-specific Telecompetitor coverage can be found on the Broadband Nation webpage for the state.

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