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Page last updated on October 7, 2022 at 2:35 pm

Good afternoon and welcome to a blue ribbon, signature day in Bloomington. As we begin, we start with an acknowledgment.


We recognize that the City of Bloomington sits on Native land. This city is on the traditional homelands of the Miami, Delaware, Potawatomi, and Shawnee people, and we acknowledge they are past, present, and future caretakers of this land. 


We also acknowledge that much of the economic progress and development in Bloomington and Indiana resulted from the unpaid labor and forced servitude of People of Color - specifically enslaved African labor. 


We acknowledge that this land remains home to, and a site of, gathering and healing for many indigenous and other people of color, and we commit to the work necessary to create and promote a more equitable and just Bloomington.


Thank you. We're here today to celebrate a beginning, a new chapter, and a new path for Bloomington. It's been years in the making, and it's very exciting that on October 6, 2022, we're celebrating the physical work launch to build a city-wide, open-access, ubiquitous fiber network for our community.


There are a lot of people to hear from today. I want to make three points, with appreciation.


First, thanks to Meridiam, Hoosier Networks, and construction partner AEG for their vision and commitment to this groundbreaking fiber network.

  • Since 2016, seeking partners for this 
  • Ubiquitous. Open access as infrastructure. Net neutrality. Equity.  
  • So critical to our future, economy, education, jobs, health care, and quality of life. 
  • The electricity of the 21st century. 
  • Investment and construction. (inc. Columbus and Shelbyville).
  • Vision, risk, courage, commitment.


Second, thanks to GigabitNow for coming to Bloomington as a partner in the project. 

  • First and leading Internet Service Provider entering the market
  • Delivering the access that is so essential
  • Making it real for all of us: high-speed best-in-class connectivity 
  • Welcome to Bloomington; so glad to have competition, choices, and net neutrality


And third, thank you all – Meridiam, Hoosier Networks, AEG, GigabitNow – for the extraordinary digital equity program on which we are collaborating. Best in the nation. Note that some of the best of our history as a country and community is when we assure equity and access to critical services. Think about electricity. Water and sanitation. Public education. Digital access is a public good and a public necessity. Without it, no way a family or kids or elderly can have full access to all that their lives should be. 


Access means opportunity. And access requires affordability. Bloomington has already been recognized nationally as a "digital equity trailblazer," reflecting our survey work and grants programs, among other things. But we are especially proud of the groundbreaking joint Digital Equity Initiative that Hoosier Networks and GigabitNow will be executing, with City support.  


In this plan, again that we believe is unmatched in US markets, the Digital Equity Initiative will provide low-income households with a real high-speed broadband option — no less than 250Mbs upload and download speeds — essentially at $0 cost when paired with the Biden/Harris Administration's Affordable Connectivity Program broadband subsidy. 


Eligibility here in Bloomington for this program will be broad and income-based, and again the fiber network is meant to reach virtually every household — tied to existing federal or state benefits, so those already eligible for SNAP, school free, and reduced lunch programs, HUD housing vouchers, and more are automatically eligible. And there is no signup fee. 


The City will contribute $ 1 million toward fiber drops to DE initiative residences, matching contributions from our private sector partners here today.


The City's & Meridiam's Digital Equity program also commits Hoosier Networks to employ a Digital Equity staff member to insure the success of this program in Hoosier Network's markets and to contribute $85,000 annually to the City that will help support our efforts, including community digital equity grants and a new part-time Digital Equity Specialist and Navigator position in the City's Information & Technology Services Department.


All of these elements together address several recommendations in the City's 2020 Digital Equity Strategic Plan. And we are looking forward to building on that success in partnership with Meridiam, HoosierNetworks, and GigabitNow in the coming years.


These are three really important, transformative steps we're commencing today for Bloomington. Lives will be changed. Futures will be brighter. Our community will be stronger. 


Thank you all – Meridiam, Hoosier Fiber Networks, AEG, and GigabitNow. Also, thanks to the steering committee, Bloomington Digital Underground Advisory Committee, and city staff. 


I want to introduce Nicolas Rubio, CEO of Meridiam North America. Decades of infrastructure experience globally. And in 2010 named "Entrepreneur of the Year" by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.


Click here for photos from the event.


Previous Press Releases

Community Invited to Celebrate Launch of Hoosier Networks Fiber-Network Project–Click here.

Bloomington Updates Meridiam Open-Access Fiber-Network Project–Click here.

Meridiam and City of Bloomington Announce Plans for $50 Million City-Wide, Fiber-to-the-Home Network–Click here.