ELKHART — Surf Internet SM began building more than 250 miles of fiber-optic Internet to rural homes in northern Indiana, leveraging more than $6 million from the Indiana Next Level Connectivity Broadband Grant Program and $3.6 million in private investment.
It’s the largest fiber optic infrastructure project in northern Indiana and is targeting underserved communities, according to a release.
Surf will begin construction in Elkhart County in late March, with projects in La Porte and Newton County to follow later this year.
“The construction of these Indiana projects represents tangible success in our strategy of combining grants with our own investments to bring high-speed Internet to underserved residents,” said Surf CEO Gene Crusie in a release. “Instead of just focusing on homes in densely populated areas, we apply for grant subsidies in dispersed areas that would otherwise not be financially viable on our own. By working with local communities in this way, we can further expand our fiber network, Open doors to better educational, business and networking opportunities.”
In Elkhart County, where construction is about to begin, the grant will create a redundant loop from Goshen to Wakarusa, specifically addressing underserved populations in southwest Goshen. The fiber optic network will also be built along the rural stretch of CR 28, from CR 27 in Goshen to Ind. 13 in Middlebury. A total of 478 households and 25 businesses and/or major institutions in Elkhart County that would not otherwise have access to the Internet will be able to use high-speed broadband.
“Increasing fiber and broadband options in Elkhart County remains imperative,” said Elkhart County Commissioner Suzie Weirick. “Continued investment in improving these connections keeps our communities connected to each other and to the world. Frankly, investing in broadband networks in urban and rural areas will make us attractive to all and make Egypt Elkhart County became a thriving community of residents and businesses.”
The NLC Broadband Grants Program has provided a total of $268 million in broadband infrastructure funding to more than 74,800 homes and businesses. Combined with private and local investment, more than $580 million has been mobilized since 2018. Through three award rounds, 83 of Indiana’s 92 counties will complete projects.
Residents and business owners who want updates on the project can visit Surf’s construction page at construction.surfinternet.com. To see if a particular address is currently offering service, visit surfinternet.com and click the blue “Check Availability” button.