County to benefit from
high speed Internet services
is behind the push to upgrade service
(January 2005) Jefferson County, Ind., residents
have few options when it comes to finding fast and affordable Internet
service. Many area businesses and residents are forced to make
do with a slow dial-up connection because high-speed Internet
is simply not available in their immediate area.
The Collaborative Marketing Project, a collection of community-minded
volunteers, has taken on the challenge of obtaining affordable high-speed
Internet access for the county as part of expanding local economic development.
The committee organized a panel of local Internet Technology managers
to study where the county is in terms of Internet technology infrastructure
and how it can move forward. The IT Infrastructure Task Force recently
discussed issues involved during the Indiana Main Street Conference,
held in Madison in late October.
In looking at the county, the Task Force found that a large setback
to bringing high-speed Internet options to the county is the uneven
topography of the area. The hills and trees in the county make it difficult
to run the cable or fiber-optic lines that would be necessary for high-speed
The need for this technology in the county, however, is one that could
not be ignored. Jefferson County is lacking a technology that Robert
Moore, director of technology for Madison Consolidated Schools, said
is becoming integral to our everyday lives, where in less time, people
must continually do more.
High-speed Internet would benefit residents who want a faster connection
for personal use and for after-hour business use in their homes, however,
small business, agriculture and the local economy as a whole would see
the greatest benefits of the technology.
Businesses that require a high-speed connection would be able to locate
Especially beneficial would be the availability of second story space
in downtown Madison for those businesses that do not need storefronts.
Businesses that desperately need to update their programs and have not
done so due to the fact that the programs require better connections
would have that opportunity. Perhaps most importantly, availability
of high-speed Internet would attract new businesses to the area, officials
In addition, it would make the area attractive to large companies looking
to expand to this central location between three large cities but who
need to be able to access the larger company network to do daily business.
Internet business is the key to economic opportunity for Jefferson County,
said Jeff Garrett, executive director of the Madison Area Chamber of
Commerce. He believes it can take the place of the absent interstates
in connecting the area to large business sectors.
Agriculture is another area of business that suffers when high-speed
Internet connections are not available. Farming is prevalent in the
county and makes a large contribution to our economy. To remain successful
in todays competitive market, a farmer must be able to access
information quickly and easily. Todays farmer needs high-speed
Internet access to survive said Ann Grahn, moderator for the IT Infrastructure
Task Force. For example, a farmer uses the Internet to watch daily market
trends, follow weather conditions, purchase equipment and supplies,
and receive satellite images.
The IT Infrastructure Task Force has been working diligently to bring
high-speed Internet access to all areas of Jefferson County, and the
work has paid off. The committee was successful in gaining significant
interest from companies who can bring the needed technology to the area.
Currently in Jefferson County there are several carriers offering high-speed
Internet. The problem, however, is that it is only available in small
and specific areas. Several companies are working with different technologies
to bring high-speed Internet to all areas of the county. One solution
in the works is the use of wireless Internet. Wireless is a good option
because a signal would be available in areas such as downtown Madison
and rural Jefferson County.
SEI Communications currently provides wireless service to Madisons
hilltop and is working to expand into all other areas of the county.
Mike Leach, general manager at SEI Communications, said that within
six months the company expects to have enough towers up and running
to offer wireless high-speed internet to every area in Jefferson County,
with exceptions being far and few between.
Many other companies will be offering high-speed service to residents
and businesses in Jefferson County in the near future. Cinergy MetroNet
will be bringing the service to eleven cities and towns in Indiana,
including Madison and Hanover in about two years.
As the technology grows and expands throughout Jefferson and surrounding
counties, opportunities will continue to arise. Officials believe that
the combination of high-speed technologies expected in the area in the
immediate future will not only serve the short-term need of high-speed
access but will also put technologies in place that will be necessary
to support future economic growth throughout the area.
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