BENTON COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)- Benton County is now one step closer to having broadband internet for the majority of people who live there. Benton County will be the beneficiary of a three million dollars grant that was awarded to Mainstream Fiber Networks.
The money will be used to add around 120 miles of fiber networks that will expand broadband in the rural area.
The Next Level Connections grant is part of a funding partnership with the state of Indiana, Benton County, and Mainstream Fiber Network. Local leaders say this will help schools in the area when they have E-learning days.
"On our E-learning days a lot of our kids still have to go to the public libraries to get internet service,” said Paul Jackson the Economic Development Director for Benton County. “That kind of defeats the purpose of having an e-learning day. "
With a local match of 3.2 million dollars, the total project in Benton County will be around 6.2 million dollars. The broadband network will serve over 2,400 unnerved homes and around 554 unnerved businesses. Of 92 counties in Indiana, Benton County is the second least served county in the state when it comes to broadband connectivity.
County leaders say the engineering phase of the project has already started, with the hopes to start construction by end of February or early March.
In February town hall meetings will be held in Benton County so the public can ask questions about what new services will be provided. The company hopes to have the fiber up and running by the end of 2020.