Harrison County to Become a 1 Gigabyte Community PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 07:18

Monday, March 27, 2017 the Harrison County Council voted to loan the Harrison County Community Foundation $2 million to help fund a $15 million high speed internet expansion project.  The public-private investment project is being funded with an additional $3 million from the Community Foundation and $10 million of new investment by Mainstream Fiber Networks.  The final project will make Harrison County, Indiana a 1 Gigabyte community, with the potential of up to 40 GB speeds for those businesses and residences that are interested in that level of service.

Mainstream Fiber Networks is currently engaged in a project in Harrison County which had an initial goal of linking all Harrison County Government locations together.  At their sole expense, MFN ran approximately 55 miles of fiber optic cable and is currently in the process of connecting business and residential consumers to that Phase I project loop.

The Phase II project will run approximately 115 miles of fiber optic high speed internet cable, connecting businesses and residences to the main loop, over the next 24 months.  Mainstream Fiber Networks has been contracted by the Community Foundation to run the fiber, primarily utilizing existing utility poles, but going underground and placing new poles when necessary.  Mainstream Fiber Networks will then use their investment of $10 million to run fiber up to one-mile, in either direction, off that main route.  Most interested customers within the Loop service area should be connected by the end of 2019.

The combined projects have the potential to reach 85% of the business and residential addresses in rural Harrison County.  Lisa Long, the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County and secretary for Connect Harrison County, Inc., couldn’t be more pleased with the collaborative efforts that have resulted in both of these projects.  Long said, “When I joined the Chamber in September 2008, my primary initiative was the expansion of high speed internet.  The groundwork for these projects began up to 15 years ago and culminated with the collaborative efforts of the Harrison County Community Foundation, Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County, Connect Harrison County, Inc., Harrison County Commissioners and Council, Harrison REMC and a dozen or so community leaders.”

Corydon, the county seat of Harrison County, is located just 20 minutes from downtown Louisville and 30 minutes from River Ridge. Corydon was recently awarded a Stellar Communities Designation, leveraging millions of dollars in new public and private investment. New apartment housing is planned and the downtown area is getting a facelift.

“This project should be a game-changer for our community”, says Steve Gilliland, Foundation President & CEO. “With good schools, unmatched county services, abundant recreational amenities, and a revitalized downtown Corydon, having 1 gig fiber available should make Harrison County the perfect place to raise a family or start a business.”

From revenues generated from fiber access and a $5 monthly Infrastructure Recovery Fee, both the Community Foundation and County coffers will recover their investment. “Recovering funds is not the priority”, adds Gilliland. “Providing our residents and businesses the technology they need is.”

A veteran of the telecommunications industry, and former Harrison County Commissioner, George Ethridge said, “I can’t tell you how glad I am to see this finally happen for our county! This broadband initiative adds a great deal to the goal of enhancing our educational opportunities and attracting new families and businesses alike to our community while helping our current businesses and residents enjoy the benefits of broadband access.”  Ethridge has been contracted by the Harrison County Community Foundation to manage the project.