With broadband on the way, Sidney prepares to move forward

Sidney Town Councili member Sharon Rancourt (L) addresses Thursday celebration while fellow council member Rebecca Adams looks on. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

SIDNEY — The town of Sidney could have blazing-fast broadband service by the end of July.

That’s according to Kosciusko Connect, which is laying fiber optic in a move set forth by Kosciusko County, facilitated by a committee known as HELP (Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program) and funded with federal ARPA money.

Officials celebrated the plan to provide internet service Thursday at the Sidney-Jackson Fire Department

“It would be a shame to see small towns die out,” said Town Council Member Sharon Rancourt.  “We are on a path of growth and as we’ve said … we plan to leave this town better than when we stepped into it.”

The chance to provide internet service ended up piggybacking on the need to construct another emergency service communication tower which was recently erected on the town’s east side.

Town Board President Gavin Parrett and county commissioners Bob Conley and Cary Groninger talked about the importance of not only providing internet service, but eliminating a final weak spot in the emergency responder radio system.

Groninger said it was exciting to see the progress that’s been made and congratulated the town on “stepping into the 21st century.”

“Hopefully this gives them the tools they need to be able to attract people to live here and be part of Kosciusko County,” he said.

The town of some 120 people is viewed as the last in the county to still lack internet service, 

Duke Bennett, executive director of the Office of Community Rural Affairs for Indiana participated in the celebration.

His office, better known as OCRA, provided technical support. He said there are still a lot of small communities across the state in the same situation as Sidney and that expanding inernet coverage to those still lacking remains a huge challenge.

“It’s going to take a lot of money. My guess is it will take another $500 million to have an impact.” Bennett said.

Curt Barkey, Kosciusko Connect’s vice president of technology and broadband,  said Kosciusko Connect’s minimum internet speed is 100 Mbps, but also offers a 500 Mbps package.

“We’re going to blow you guys out of the water,” Barkey said, drawing an excited collection of laughs from the crowd.

An ice cream social is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday in which Kosciusko Connect will provide details on hooking up to the service. Town residents are encouraged to attend.

Kosciusko County Commissioner Cary Groninger addresses a crowd assembled at rhe Sidney Jackson Fire station Thursday. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
A ribbon cutting celebrating the upcoming arrival of internet service in Sidey was part of Thursday’s ceremony. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.