KNOX COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The rural areas of Knox County are due to get massive broadband internet upgrades.

Nextlink was awarded $2.5 million dollars in order to improve the internet quality by at least 5 times. The majority of these areas currently have around 100-megabyte upload and download speeds.

This upgrade will improve both of these numbers to 500 megabytes for each project. Upgrades of this magnitude will improve the quality of life tremendously for these residents.

Tim Trotter is the regional director of operations for NextLink and he goes over what doors this opens up for these people.

“E-Learning, you look at telemedicine, work from home, all those types of things that people that lived in rural areas didn’t have that accessibility.”

These restrictions have really hindered what the people in these areas have been able to do in the past few years. Nextlink has worked for years to try and close the gap between the city and rural technology possibilities.

Trotter explained how even they were caught off guard by this recent change and how amazing it feels to level the playing field.

“It’s crazy to see that happen in a relatively short amount of time. The boom for the county and closing that digital divide, that is enormously satisfying, it really is. To see that come to fruition is really cool,” added Trotter.

Nextlink plans to have these upgrades complete by midway through next year.