Surf Internet begins network construction
Mar. 18—ELKHART — Surf Internet SM is beginning construction on over 250 miles of fiber internet to rural homes throughout northern Indiana, leveraging over $6 million awarded by Indiana's Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program, along with its private investment of $3.6 million.
This is the largest fiber-optic infrastructure project in northern Indiana to specifically address underserved communities, a news release stated.
Surf will begin construction in Elkhart County in late March, with La Porte and Newton County projects to follow later in the year.
"Construction on these Indiana projects represents the tangible success we've had in our strategy to combine grant dollars along with our own investments to provide underserved residents with high-speed internet," says Surf CEO Gene Crusie in the release. "Rather than focusing only on homes in densely populated areas, we are applying for grant subsidies in spread-out areas that would otherwise be financially unfeasible to reach on our own. By partnering with local communities in this way, we can expand our fiber network even further, opening the door for better opportunities in education, business, and personal connections."
In Elkhart County, where construction is set to begin, the grant will create a redundant loop to Wakarusa from Goshen, specifically addressing an underserved population southwest of Goshen. A fiber-optic network will also be constructed along a rural stretch of C.R. 28 from C.R. 27 in Goshen to just past Ind. 13 in Middlebury. In total, 478 households and 25 businesses and/or anchor institutions in Elkhart County that would otherwise be without internet connectivity will have access to high-speed broadband.
"Increasing the fiber and broadband options for Elkhart County continues to be imperative," said Elkhart County Commissioner Suzie Weirick. "Having continuous investment to improve these connections keeps our communities tied to each other and the world. Quite frankly, investment in broadband networks in urban and rural areas will make us attractive to all people, as well as position Elkhart County to be a thriving community for residents and businesses."
The NLC Broadband Grant Program has awarded a total of $268 million for broadband infrastructure to more than 74,800 homes and commercial locations. When combined with private and local investment, over $580 million has been leveraged since 2018. Projects will have been completed in 83 of Indiana's 92 counties through the three rounds of the awards.
Residents and business owners wanting project updates can visit Surf's construction page at construction.surfinternet.com. To see if services are currently available for a specific address, visit surfinternet.com and click the blue "Check Availability" button.