INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Multiple companies in the Wabash Valley will receive funding for the expansion of rural broadband projects as part of round three of the state’s Next Level Connections program.

The Next Level program is the largest single-state investment in broadband. Round three has awarded $189 million to 154 broadband projects. The funding is expected to expand broadband access to an additional 52,900 homes and businesses.

In total, rounds one, two and three of the program have awarded $268 million for broadband infrastructure for 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.

A list of all awarded programs in round three can be found here.

Looking at the Wabash Valley, JOINK received numerous grants in Clay, Vermillion, Parke, Sullivan, and Vigo counties. The funding will allow the expansion of their broadband access to an additional 198 households and 46 businesses at a total cost of $13,940,616.58. $10,344,642.60 was granted through round 3 with telecommunications providers and utility cooperatives contributing a match of $3,595,973.98.

Spectrum Mid-America also was awarded funding in Clay County, their project will provide service to an additional 231 households and seven businesses. The company was granted $2,538,514.91 with a local match of 1,269,016 bringing the total cost of the project to $3.8 million.

In Knox County, Echo Wireless will receive $2,419,670, which has a local match of $604,850 bringing the total for the project to just over three million dollars. This will allow expansion of access to an additional 943 households and 21 businesses.

In Greene County, Smithville Communications was granted $3,150,891.04 to expand access to 421 households and 11 businesses. This project includes a local match of $787,721 for a total of just shy of four million dollars.

“This program provides a great opportunity for Senate District 38 to expand its business climate and improve the local quality of life,” State Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) said. “I look forward to seeing how our communities take advantage of their improved accessibility to broadband connectivity.”

The program allows broadband service providers and utility cooperatives to apply for up to $5 million to expand service to unserved or underserved areas if they provide at least a 20% match. For more information about the projects involved visit the Next Level Connections Project Dashboard here.