WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — With the launch of a new team, Purdue University is trying to help the goal of having all Indiana residents access affordable broadband internet, no matter where they live.
According to a news release from the university, the Purdue Broadband Team launched on Monday. The team will be a collaborative effort between the university, the Indiana Broadband Office and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. The team was created to take a role in helping ensure all Indiana residents and business have access to affordable broadband internet service.
This comes after the state was awarded $868 million in funds from the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program to implement the broadband program throughout the state, according to the state’s website.
“The lack of affordable high-speed broadband affects economic development and quality of life in various communities in our state,” Purdue University President Mung Chiang said in the release. “Continuing our long-standing tradition as Indiana’s land-grant institution, Purdue is honored to play a small and hopefully useful role as the state government plans the next-level broadband deployment.”
Officials said in the release that the team will help increase awareness of various tools, including tools for community members to conduct speed tests and validate broadband service maps. Officials also said the teams will work with state and federal programs to expand broadband access, provide training to residents and businesses on digital literacy and support community-led broadband task forces/working groups.
“Access to fast, reliable internet is a major contributor to quality of life and is one of the great equalizers in today’s society,” Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, the state’s secretary of agriculture and rural development, said in the release. “I applaud Purdue’s commitment to investing in broadband by educating Hoosiers on tools to improve their own broadband access. As a state, we have seen a direct connection between the number of people requesting broadband services in a certain area and the areas providers are most likely to invest in. I am confident that this partnership with Purdue will accelerate state efforts to ensure that all Hoosiers, in every community, will have broadband access.”
Roberto Gallardo, the university’s vice president for engagement and the director of the Purdue center for Regional Development, is expected to lead the Purdue Broadband Team. Gallardo said in the release that the main goal of the initiative is to educate the public and spread the word about the importance of broadband in local communities.
“Purdue is a long-standing and trusted partner across Indiana. With those community relationships, we want to increase awareness about the tools that are available to improve high-speed broadband access, adoption and use by making broadband data more accurate,” Gallardo said in the release.