Tag: indiana broadband strategic partnership

The Indiana Uplands is READI to Go



BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) and Radius Indiana are pleased to announce that the 11 counties of the Indiana Uplands will continue their shared commitment to economic and community prosperity through participation in the Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI). Each of the 11 counties affirmed their participation in the Indiana Uplands READI application through formal resolutions provided by key entities across the region, including county commissions, city and town councils, school districts, and other entities.

On July 1, ROI notified the Indiana Economic Development Corporation of its intent to seek funding, alongside its partner organizations, through READI on behalf of the Indiana Uplands region, comprised of Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, and Washington counties.

“READI, as its acronym so aptly communicates, has the potential to position this region to accelerate the work we have been collectively pursuing through regionally relevant, demand-driven strategies focused on economic growth and community prosperity,” said ROI President and CEO, Tina Peterson. “READI will allow our region of 406,000 individuals living in 48 cities and towns to take the next steps in further activating a rural region with rapidly growing technology-driven sectors, world-class education assets, and incredible natural resources. We have momentum, and we are READI to build upon it.”

ROI has opened an online tool to allow Uplands organizations and individuals to provide information on potential projects and programs that have the capacity to grow the region’s economic outcomes through investments in place-based talent, business, and quality of place opportunities. The online READI submission tool captures information about the project or program, its regional impact, and the anticipated budget. Submissions can represent projects/programs in various stages of development from conception to implementation. Information provided via the tool will inform an updated Indiana Uplands strategic plan and the Regional Development Plan required to participate in READI. The online tool will accept submissions through July 30.

In May, Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) announced the launch of READI. This transformational initiative will dedicate $500 million in state appropriations to strategically advance quality of place and quality of life, innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent attraction within self-defined Indiana regions. Through READI, regional grants of up to $50 million will support projects and programs that help make Indiana a magnet for talent and economic growth. Regions will be required to provide matching dollars to leverage the potential of READI.

In addition to involvement by leadership in all 11 counties, ROI and Radius Indiana are coordinating efforts on behalf of the READI program in collaboration with stakeholders representing major regional employers and other anchor institutions.

In 2015, Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded three grants to three organizations totaling $42 million to fund regional development initiatives identified in the 2014 Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity in Southwest Central Indiana. Regional Opportunity Initiatives, formed in 2016 alongside the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement and the Indiana Innovation Institute, has a mission to grow potential and possibility in the Uplands through a focus on advanced industry sectors, regionalism, transformative school and workforce redesign, and placemaking strategies.

Radius Indiana is a regional economic development partnership representing eight counties in the Indiana Uplands region: Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Orange, and Washington. Formed in 2009, Radius Indiana also serves as a point of contact in Indiana for Naval Support Activity Crane and leads regional collaboration by leveraging the diverse assets of Southwest Central Indiana to drive attraction, retention, and expansion of business, thereby increasing employment and investment opportunities and quality of life within the region.

“Our region’s wealth of recreational and tourism attractions will really shine brighter as the READI program allows us to enhance the quality of place and nourish the dynamic economic growth and entrepreneurship that are part of the culture here,” said Jeff Quyle, President and CEO of Radius Indiana.

As part of the READI effort, regional stakeholders are working to update the strategic plan developed for Southwest Central Indiana in 2014. Aspects of the updated Indiana Uplands strategic plan, including fundable projects and programs, will be used for the READI application due by August 31, 2021. READI funding decisions are expected to be made by IEDC in December 2021.

More information is available at: https://regionalopportunityinc.org/readi

Indiana Farm Bureau Partners with GEO Partners, LLC; Forms Indiana Broadband Strategic Partnership

(Indianapolis) – May 26, 2021 – Indiana Farm Bureau today announced the formation of the Indiana Broadband Strategic Partnership (IBSP) to help bring reliable broadband to the most unserved and underserved communities across the state. To help with this initiative, the IBSP also includes Cook Medical Group, Duke Energy Foundation, Indiana Association of Realtors, Radius Indiana and the Regional Opportunity Initiative.

This partnership will promote the Indiana Speed Test, a crowd-sourced internet speed test created by GEO Partners, LLC, a Minnesota-based company that focuses on enabling cost effective planning and deployment of broadband. GEO Partners, LLC is working with other states including Minnesota, Washington, Maine, Kentucky, and Nebraska, as well as the nationally designated Delta Regional Authority that covers parts of eight states along the Mississippi River, to gather broadband data.

“Since access to reliable broadband is one of the most important challenges facing rural communities today, Indiana Farm Bureau sought organizations that advocate on behalf of rural Indiana to begin finding and developing solutions,” said Randy Kron, INFB president. “Data is a critical piece to help local broadband groups and the state of Indiana invest where service is needed and to avoid overbuilding infrastructure. With their groundbreaking work in other states, GEO Partners is a perfect fit.”

Beginning today, the Indiana Speed Test will be available on the INFB website – www.infb.org/speedtest, along with the websites of the initial partners and a growing list of collaborating organizations, including the Purdue Center for Regional Development, Association of Indiana Counties, Indiana Association of Regional Councils, Indiana Hospital Association and Indiana Broadband housed within the Office of Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch.

GEO Partners provides real-time internet speed data by collecting speed test information from residents. Displayed on geographic information system (GIS) layers, the data pinpoints areas that are most in need of reliable, affordable access to broadband service.

The goal for the Indiana Speed Test is to gather data in all areas of Indiana. The GEO Partnerssoftware platform and  the data will be available to local governments and organized broadband groups to analyze potential solutions and aid their applications for Indiana’s Next Level Connections Grants and a variety of federal grants. It is also hoped that the Indiana Speed Test data will jumpstart efforts to plan broadband infrastructure investments from the local portions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, so that decision-makers make investments with the greatest impact.

The speed test may be performed multiple times on any device that has an internet or cellular connection. The test takes less than one minute to complete, and no personal information will be collected.

“All Hoosiers are encouraged to participate in the Indiana Speed Test, the more locations, the more data points we’ll be able to map to highlight what connections are available and speeds Hoosiers are getting at those locations,” Kron added. “We are confident that GEO Partners will help all broadband stakeholders in Indiana by mapping actual internet speeds and identifying the most efficient methods to invest in broadband infrastructure.”

The COVID pandemic put a spotlight on the lack of adequate broadband in Indiana, especially in rural areas. The IBSP’s goal is to encourage data-driven investment decisions that substantially impact lives and our economic opportunity. Take the test today: www.infb.org/speedtest.


About Indiana Farm Bureau: For more than 100 years, Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB) has promoted agriculture in Indiana through public education, member engagement, and by advocating for agricultural and rural needs. As the state’s largest general farm organization, INFB works diligently to ensure a farmer’s right to farm—protecting the livelihood, land, equipment, animals and crops of Hoosier farmers—because agriculture is vital to Indiana’s economy. Learn more at INFB.org