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High-speed Internet project progressing slowly

At the end of a 3-1/2-hour Harrison County Board of Commissioners meeting last Tuesday night, Commissioner George Ethridge provided an update on the progress of the Mainstream Fiber Networks project set to bring high-speed Internet to Harrison County Government.
In December 2014, the county committed $300,000 over a five-year period to Mainstream to provide high-speed fiber-optic Internet for the Government Center in south Corydon, the Justice Center, the downtown courthouse and the nearly complete highway garage south of Corydon.
The goal was to have the project online by the end of 2015.
The plan is progressing, but issues with right-of-way easements with utility companies has slowed the process.
‘They’ve worked things out with Duke and Frontier … ‘ Ethridge said. ‘The (Harrison) REMC board meeting is at the end of the month, and they’ll vote whether or not to accept contracts with Mainstream. The REMC portion is on hold until after that is taken care of.’
The time frame for completion of phase one will depend on how quickly Mainstream is able work with the utility companies to get its infrastructure installed.
Weather also will play a part, Ethridge said.
‘Mainstream has put a lot of hours into trying to figure out what paths to take to get past some of these hurdles,’ he said.
Eventually, as part of a four-to-five year plan, Mainstream hopes to branch out to cover the majority of the county.
‘That’s quite a build out; big investment on their part,’ Ethridge said.
The District 1 commissioner said he thought the subsequent phases after the initial phase will move faster.
After a question from an audience member, Ethridge said the economic impact of high-speed Internet availability will be great.
‘Huge, absolutely huge,’ he said.
Harrison County Recorder Barbara Best said this project should have been completed 10 years ago.
Ethridge said the reason it had not been done until now is because no company would offer a plan to do it without the county paying for the infrastructure.
‘Mainstream is the only company that has come and not made us pay up front,’ he said.
Commissioner Kenny Saulman commended Ethridge for all of work on the Mainstream project.
‘I’ve put a lot of hours into it, but it’s time well spent,’ Ethridge responded.
Mainstream has a not-yet-finalized map showing the path of the fiber-optic lines.
To contact Mainstream, which now has an office along Landmark Way in Corydon, call 812-720-9423.
The commissioners’ next meeting will be Monday, March 7, at 8:30 a.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.

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