La PORTE — The La Porte County Board of Commissioners gave approval for a “Working Group” to study the broadband initiative in order to identify the needs of fiber optic network in rural parts of La Porte County.

Approval for the group study will bring internet connectivity one step closer for many La Porte County citizens who live too far out in the country to be eligible to connect to any existing broadband services.

“In the past, infrastructure used to mean roads, bridges, power and sewer. Now, in today’s day and age infrastructure also means connectivity,” Commissioner Dr. Vidya Kora expressed during the meeting.

Commissioner Sheila Brillson stressed the importance of granting this approval to the packed La Porte County Complex.

“Over the last couple of years we have heard considerable comment around our county about the lack of connectivity, especially in our rural communities," Brillson said. “It’s not an option any more for us to not have internet in our homes and in our businesses. In order for our business community to grow, we need internet connectivity across this county that is fail-safe, that is not slow and dial-up oriented.”

The approved “Working Group” will be in charge of addressing this need and identifying solutions for the county.

As of right now, the group’s intention is to work with the representatives at the Statehouse to bring money back to La Porte County in order to set up fiber optic connectivity in places where there is no current internet available.

Brillson recommended that the group work with Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has allowed for $200 million to be put into rural initiatives around connectivity.

“This is something we have explored in the past. We found that it is going to take a committee and some help from Indianapolis. It’s huge, it’s expensive and there is a whole bunch of issues with it, but I agree that it is definitely needed,” said Commissioner Richard Mrozinski.

The members of the approved “Working Group” were not disclosed at the Board of Commissioners meeting. The Commissioners said they plan to keep a tight and sharply focused group in order to get the best results. The group members will not be announced until after the next County Commissioners meeting.

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