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Legislators Hope Limiting INDOT Fees Will Spur Broadband Investment

Crews splice fiber cable to telephone poles in Brown County. (Brock Turner, WTIU/WFIU News)

Legislators took yet another step to enhance broadband access throughout the state’s rural areas.

Thursday the Indiana House of Representatives approved to change the regulatory authority the Indiana Department of Transportation has to regulate particular public rights of way.

Currently INDOT charges a fee per mile of access telecommunication providers use. This is common throughout the country.

Telecom providers say the fees can be burdensome—especially with builds in less dense, rural areas that do not have service.  But, Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) testified before the House that his amendment strikes a balance all stakeholders can agree on.

"This is the final agreement between INDOT and the stakeholders," he says. "We will charge as other states are for access."

The bill also charges the Office of Community and Rural Affairs to implement state grant dollars to qualified providers. The bill still has to be approved in the Senate before it reaches the governor’s desk. 

Last year, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R-IN) announced a $100 million investment in the state’s rural broadband efforts. 

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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