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County certified as broadband ready

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

Fayette County has become a Broadband Ready Community, moving one step closer to possibly extending high speed internet service countywide.

The Fayette County Commissioners approved a resolution for the application. The designation, received March 15, is a prerequisite for applying for grant funds for any work in the effort to be more broadband equipped, EDG Executive Director Dan Parker told the city’s Board of Public Works and Safety on Monday.

“Becoming certified as a Broadband Ready Community sends a signal to the telecommunications industry that Fayette County has taken steps to reduce barriers to broadband infrastructure investment by establishing a permit procedure in compliance with Indiana Code,” wrote Devin Hillsdon-Smith, director of Interagency Affairs & Redevelopment at the Indiana Economic Development Corp., in notifying the the county of the designation.

The outer areas of the county suffer from a lack of broadband, Parker explained. The city is in pretty good condition for broadband. The county is working through an Intelligent Community Task Force to remedy deficiencies.

At a Task Force meeting this year, representatives from three rural electric co-ops said they are willing to look at extending broadband service in Fayette County but would need economic incentive to more ahead. Grant funding is regarded as part of that incentive.

As an example of some of the problems with not having broadband access, Parker reported the EDG had received a grant to allow students under age 19 at the Whitewater Career Center to take the WorkKeys certification assessment.

“This WorkKeys test will allow these students to receive a National Career Readiness certificate which is a certification they can use in resumes when they go job hunting,” he said. “It shows a potential employer this student has gone through the time and trouble of earning the certification. It takes work to do that.”

 

In other business, two more houses will be demolished in the latest round of the state-funded Blight Elimination Program.

City Grant Administrator Diana Wright said houses at 1615 and 1619 Illinois Ave. will be torn down. Bids for the work will be received in May.