FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — From the border of Northwest Ohio, through the Hoosier state to Illinois, the internet is about to get faster.
Digital Crossroad and Vivacity Networks are partnering up to connect the fibers along the Indiana Toll Road into one internet backbone for northern Indiana.
Digital Crossroad’s Tom Dakich joined local and state leaders Wednesday morning to discuss how this affects the area.
"Today we activated the largest network in northern Indiana which is the toll road," Dakich said. "It means that you could sit in Noble County or Allen County or Angola, Indiana, and have the same level of connectivity that you could if you were right next to the largest data center in the world in Chicago."
The communications companies say the expanded network will allow areas like rural Noble County to connect with Chicago, Illinois and back in roughly three milliseconds.
For reference, it takes over 100 milliseconds just to blink.
"Your Netflix is going to be better. Your HBO is going to be better. Your access to every part of the internet could be better," Dakich said. "Partners that are the largest companies in the world are now incented to come in and make bigger investments."
And those investments are exactly what Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch is planning on.
"In 2018, Purdue University did a study. And at the time, they said there were about 400,000 Hoosiers that were in internet darkness. And if we could connect all those Hoosiers, it would result in the next 20 years with an additional $12 billion to our state’s economy," Lt. Gov. Crouch said.
Since then, Crouch says the Indiana General Assembly has set aside roughly $350 million for broadband expansion.
But the Indiana Toll Road project is entirely privately funded.
Dakich says Digital Crossroad has already invested $18 million and plans to put in another $6 million.
"The economic development of Indiana is dependent on being competitive with everyone else," Dakich said. "Places that were not on the map for digital infrastructure can today be on the map. It’s just a matter of making ourselves available."
Dakich says he expects the whole network to be fully activated within the next year.
Crouch says she enjoys traveling the state to learn how other companies are expanding broadband connections.
She says fast and affordable internet benefits both local economy and quality of life.