Lt. Governor, Smithville celebrate $2.7 million rural fiber internet expansion in Tipton, Howard counties
SHARPSVILLE, Indiana – A new high-speed gigabit (1,000 Mbps) era arrived in Tipton and southern parts of Howard counties on August 13, when Smithville, a national Top 100 Broadband company based in southern Indiana, lit up the first of more than 500 homes with fiber-based internet, according to Darby McCarty, CEO and chairman of Smithville. Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, along with Ms. McCarty, Smithville President Paul Quick, Smithville Executive Vice President Cullen McCarty, and other state and local leaders assembled on the Baird Family Farm in northern Tipton County to celebrate the first connection for the $2.7 million project.
As part of the comprehensive project, which is partially funded by the Indiana Next Level Connections (NLC) Broadband Grant program, Smithville deployed 36 miles of new fiber-optics and upgraded network equipment to deliver its premium gigabit-speed internet to the rural region near Sharpsville, Indiana. The company also upgraded 117 existing copper-based-service customers to fiber connectivity.
“This type of project achieves high-speed rural fiber connectivity to underserved areas of Indiana, bringing new advantages and possibilities to Hoosiers,” said Lt. Gov. Crouch. “Smithville’s investment and vision help fulfill what Gov. Eric Holcomb and the state supports to connect Hoosiers through the Indiana Next Level Connections Broadband program.”
“Smithville is excited to formally light up this new high-speed fiber project on the Baird Family Farm, home of Groomsville Popcorn. The location is significant, representing the importance of fast, highly reliable connectivity that our farmers and rural residents so desperately need,” said Ms. McCarty. “As a long-time communications provider to the area, we are pleased to launch Smithville’s high-speed gigabit internet service to this rural region.”
Ms. McCarty noted that she was grateful to see many local education and government officials at the event. “Smithville has received broad support from state and local government to advance this project,” she said.
“We are grateful to Gov. Eric Holcomb for his vision and commitment to expand and strengthen Indiana’s critical broadband infrastructure,” said Cullen McCarty. “The Next Level Connections Broadband Grant program provides a helpful strategic catalyst to engage in rural areas of Indiana where the need is great.”
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 reliable, fast internet. “Access to Smithville’s high-speed network will enable farmers to employ technology-based precision agriculture techniques and other applications,” explained Quick, who pointed out that the region is home to some of the most productive farmland in the state.
“With Smithville’s high-speed network, area rural residents will have expanded opportunities to both work securely from home and to operate and expand home-based businesses in the region, including agricultural operations and new access to education and healthcare resources,” said Quick. “High-speed fiber connectivity has a major play in all of that.”
After formally turning on the fiber connection to Mark Baird, who also serves as the executive director of the Tipton County Community Foundation, Smithville will begin adding more than 160 new customers who have already signed up for the new fiber service.
In addition to Lt. Gov. Crouch, Smithville executives, project staff, and additional state and local officials attended the formal opening of the new Smithville fiber project. These included State Rep. Tony Cook; State Director of Broadband Opportunities Scott Rudd; Matt Crouch, interim director of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA); Mary Shaw, OCRA NLC program director; Deena Dodd, network director at the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA); Tipton County Commissioners; local school superintendents and school principals; members of the Tipton County Broadband Task Force; Purdue Extension professionals; and others.
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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 17 Indiana counties, representing private investments totaling upward of a quarter of a billion dollars, including the 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.