SHARPSVILLE, Indiana – Smithville, a national top 100 broadband company based in southern Indiana, launched a $2.7 million high-speed fiber broadband expansion in northern Tipton and southern Howard counties in mid-January, according to Darby McCarty, chairman and CEO of Smithville. As part of the comprehensive project, Smithville will be bringing its premium gigabit speed internet to more than 580 residences in a rural region near Sharpsville, Indiana.
The Smithville expansion will be funded in part from a $250,000 grant from Indiana’s Next Level Connections (NLC) Broadband Grant Program, helping fund the cost to build fiber to some 127 households within the project area that are currently considered unserved, with speeds below 10/1 Mbps. “We are grateful to Gov. Eric Holcomb for his vision and commitment to expand and strengthen Indiana’s critical broadband infrastructure and the focus on reaching Hoosiers in rural areas that are considered unserved,” said Cullen McCarty, executive vice president of Smithville.
“Those state grant funds provide a helpful strategic catalyst to place investments in rural areas of Indiana where the need is great.” McCarty added that Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Office of Community and Rural Affairs have been “a positive and aggressive force in finding new opportunities to bring high-speed fiber to rural areas.”
The remainder of the $2.7 million expansion will be funded from private investments from Smithville, aligning with the company’s ongoing commitment to upgrading infrastructure, bringing faster, more reliable technology to customers throughout its footprint. “We are committed to making a difference in the lives of our customers,” said Darby McCarty. “It takes time and resources, but we are making progress. I’m grateful to our customers for their continued loyalty and am pleased that we are now able to bring fiber to residents in the rural Sharpsville area.”
Smithville’s expansion of high-capacity, high-speed fiber will help resolve a current challenge facing many Hoosier farmers who don’t currently have access to fast and reliable internet. “Access to Smithville’s high-speed, highly reliable network will enable farmers to employ technology-based precision agriculture techniques and other applications,” explained Paul Quick, Smithville president, who pointed out that the region is home to some of the most productive farmland in the state.
“This rural connectivity also allows access to online tools for healthcare and education,” Quick added. With Smithville’s high-speed network, area rural residents will have expanded opportunities to both work securely from home and to operate home-based businesses.
Offering up to 1,000 Mbps (symmetrical – up to 1,000 Mbps download and upload speeds) to customers, the Smithville high-speed gigabit internet that is expected to be available later this summer will dramatically exceed the federal government benchmark speed goals of 25 Mbps download speed and 3 Mbps upload capacity. When completed in mid-summer, the new network will also offer SIP voice services, Smithville’s streaming TV package and Smithville’s security and home automation services.
In the course of preparing to launch this $2.7 million project, Smithville officials have worked closely with local elected officials, Tipton County’s broadband task force and area residents. “Our Smithville team members specifically reached out to landowners to review project details,” said Quick. “This was very helpful to our construction planning, as landowners and farmers were able to identify key drainage tiles and other major infrastructure that we need to consider in the physical fiber installation over the coming months, while assuring landowners that our team would be respectful of their property.”
Community leaders, local and state elected officials and landowners have all been extremely supportive of the project, understanding the positive impact for the local community, explained Quick. “This expansion represents a transformational opportunity for this rural region of north central Indiana,” said Quick. “We will be building and expanding a state-of-the-art fiber network that will offer fast and reliable gigabit-level broadband service to our current and future customers, which is expected to greatly enrich the quality of life and business for the area.”
Nationally recognized for more than a decade as a Top 100 Broadband Company, privately owned Smithville is Indiana’s largest independent telecom company with more than 200 employees. As a fifth-generation, family-owned business, Smithville has been committed to delivering fast and reliable connectivity and legendary service to its customers for nearly a century. The company is well-known as an industry leader and community supporter for rural Indiana.
Since the early 1990s, Smithville has constructed more than 2,800 miles of high-speed, high-capacity fiber across more than 22 Indiana counties, representing private investments totaling upward of a quarter of a billion dollars, including recent completion of a $4.5 million, 100-gigabit fiber ring.
In addition to its residential services, Smithville provides commercial fiber-based connectivity for businesses, university campuses, biotechnology companies, healthcare providers, government offices, residential centers, communities, and other entities, including the WestGate@Crane Technology Park and the Purdue Research Park. The company currently serves about 23,000 businesses and residences in southern and central Indiana. For more information, please visit www.smithville.com.