Regional planning in works for broadband access

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Improving rural areas around Logansport to enhance economic development and the quality of life may be streamlined through a study funded by the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network  .

The Lafayette-based consortium of 10 counties has announced a two-year study of the broadband needs of Cass and nine other counties in the region.

Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell, who supported the concept when it was discussed at the 2017 WHIN meeting in Logansport at Ivy Tech, said the study deserves attention from communities in the region.

“It can do for broadband what rural electric cooperatives did for electricity,” he said today. “It potentially is a huge investment in our rural areas. Having broadband in rural areas particularly along the Hoosier Heartland from Logansport to Lafayette, U.S. 24 in Cass and Carroll counties and U.S. 35 in Pulaski and Cass County can do nothing but help development and growth.”

Existing efforts to expand broadband through for-profit companies and utilities have focused on the “low-hanging fruit” of the most populated areas, he said. A mass installation could make installation in rural areas more economical and appealing to investors willing to make the commitment to the region, he said.

The two-year study of Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties has a goal of determining what it will take to design a network offering broadband coverage to 80 percent of the area. Watch Communications of Ohio will perform thestudy.

Improving fiber access to areas in Cass County was the No. 5 goal on the Mayor’s “19 for ’19” agenda announced earlier this year at the State of the City/County Luncheon. The mayor said the timing of the study could be a good opportunity to promote regional funding initiatives proposed in the state.

SOURCE: News release from Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell