The public-private partnership between government officials in three Indiana counties and Metronet, with support from business leaders, is a sterling example of how working together and pitching in can benefit everybody.
Lack of broadband access in Marshall County was restricting communications between business facilities, which in turn was impacting business production, while the Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center was finding it difficult to support growth at its Plymouth campus.
The $2.5 million project, a consequence of the partnership, is expected to connect Marshall County and Plymouth directly to the existing Metronet network in St. Joseph County. It will extend Metronet’s dark fiber network and add more than 30 miles of high-speed, high capacity fiber optic cable.
The much-needed high speed, high capacity broadband communications infrastructure linking Plymouth and South Bend thus became a reality when regional and business leaders gathered together to launch the project on May 2, at U.S. 31 and Tyler Road near Lakeville.
While Plymouth and the other two counties are expected to fund most of the installation of underground conduit that would house the cable, Metronet will pay for the installation, monitoring and maintaining of the fiber. Hoosier Racing Tire and the Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center argued for public support of the project.
Once the project is completed, it will create new economic development opportunities, giving existing businesses access to the latest communications, cloud computing and data storage technologies while greater broadband access will attract new businesses and contribute toward industrial development.
"Businesses and entrepreneurs in Marshall County will now have increased bandwidth capabilities that will allow them to conduct business at much higher levels," said Kevin Overmyer, Marshall County commissioner. "Our public and private-sector funding partners have provided a technology unique in rural Indiana that will have a positive economic development impact."
Construction is expected to continue through summer and the first subscribers will benefit from the new connections by September.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson