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Report: Southwestern Indiana a broadband backwater

May 21, 2011

“Up through the ground comes a bubblin’ crude.

Oil, that is.” Southwestern Indiana has a lot of it.

But as for broadband Internet service—not so much.

Take Gibson County. It’s the only county in Indiana where 20 percent or less of its households have basic broadband access, according to a report using Federal Communications Commission data that appeared in INContext, a publication of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

When using another, faster definition of broadband service used by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Gibson and Posey Counties have adoption rates of 20 percent or less.

And Vanderburgh County, home of Evansville, has adoption rates of 40 percent or less. Evansville, according to the recent IU report, is notable among the state’s metro regions for its low rates of broadband adoption, said Rachel Justis, a geo-demographic analyst at IBRC.

“Data from the FCC show that broadband adoption rates tend to be lower in southern Indiana relative to the rest of the state, making this an indicator for economic developers to watch as time goes on,” Justis said.

By contrast, central Indiana counties of Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks and Johnson had rates of more than 60 percent.

The INContext report can be viewed at www.incontext.indiana.edu.

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