by Cassidy Williams, WSBT 22 Reporter

The red line shows the 24 miles of fiber-optic cable St Joseph County hopes to put in the New Carlisle area. The county hopes a federal grant will pay for half of the $2.2 million project.

Businesses near New Carlisle may soon be able to do work much faster. St. Joseph County is hoping to build 24 miles of fiber optic cables.

The county has already spent millions hoping to develop this land just outside of downtown New Carlisle. Now officials are hoping high speed internet will make the land more attractive. And it also could have a big impact on the town itself.

Almost every business needs the internet. That includes those that work at home.

“There are so many people who work from home that even require just a minimum amount of data just to make their home operating business work,” said Kim Huston, the branch manager at First Choice Realty Group in New Carlisle.

She says it can be hard to sell a house when it’s in a spot that doesn’t have high speed internet.

Another reason families there want internet, New Prairie Schools use iPads for homework.

“We have a subdivision in our school corporation that cannot connect to the internet at all, so those families have gotten very creative on how those students download those assignments or activities before they leave for school,” said Assistant Superintendent Carrie Cannon.

The lack of connection is why the county is hoping to build a 24-mile loop of fiber-optic cable.

The county is applying for a grant to pay for half of the $2.2 million project.

“Part of the challenge is there’s not a lot of people lining up to put broadband in these areas. So from this federal grant application standpoint, we become very attractive,” said Bill Schalliol, executive director of economic development.

Huston and the school corporation are hoping the plan comes true.

“The internet is a daily use for most families or most people at home all the time now. It’s highly important. If we had something like high speed everywhere offered, even nationwide, it would be a huge plus, I think,” said Houston.

The county says it should find out if it got the grant money by the end of the summer. Construction would then start immediately.



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