The Town of Culver is excited to announce that it is bringing a broadband fiber option to town. In the fall of 2021, town officials authorized Town Manager Ginny Munroe to form a Broadband Fiber Task Force to study options for bringing fiber to the Town of Culver. After meeting with interested broadband providers, the task force worked with the Culver Redevelopment Commission to hire a broadband consultant from Thomas P. Miller & Associates. They chose Scott Rudd, a broadband expert who used to head up Indiana Broadband.

Together, with Rudd, the task force looked at various broadband design options and solutions. They then worked on a request for proposals (RFP). “The RFP included criteria that we wanted to see in the broadband solutions provided to us,” Munroe said. “For example, we weighted certain options, such as price to the Town, quality of proposed fiber solution, and the cost to those who become users of the system.” Ultimately, the town chose Surf Internet, a company currently implementing broadband solutions throughout Marshall County and the surrounding region. Munroe added, “One thing that appealed to us about the Surf proposal is that our residents will be offered a variety of choices and the rates they pay will be locked in for the life of that agreement. In addition, Surf’s proposal has buried lines that won’t be susceptible to weather.”

At an August 2nd joint meeting between the Culver Town Council and the Culver Redevelopment Commission (CRC), the CRC agreed to fund the project with a $531,023.17 investment. President Sally Ricciardi said, “It makes sense to use redevelopment dollars for a broadband fiber solution because the redevelopment commission has economic development dollars for projects like this one. Providing fiber throughout town will not only help our current businesses, but it will be one of the ways we can attract new business.”

Town Council President Bill Githens adds, “In recent surveys and public input sessions, broadband fiber rises to the top of those things residents and businesses request from us. Bringing a high-speed fiber option to Culver will attract businesses and remote workers, and it will enable current businesses to grow services, products, and so on.”

Munroe adds, “As several members of our Council, our CRC, and our Crossroads Culver planning team have learned through public engagement, planning sessions, and interactions with local business owners, we need to make this investment to maintain business, encourage new business, and to attract people who might want to make Culver a permanent home, including those who can work from home if they have access to a reliable, high-speed fiber solution.”

Githens points out that “Surf Internet is also making an investment in Culver of $796,534.75 to bring this project to completion, and they are able to prioritize Culver from a scheduling standpoint.”

“We are thrilled to have been chosen by the Town of Culver as their fiber internet provider,” said Surf Internet CEO Gene Crusie. “Our investment in the Culver community is squarely in line with Surf’s vision and mission to transform our region and lay the foundation for future prosperity and growth.”

Members of the Broadband Fiber Taskforce included David Harling, Michael Overmyer, Jim Hahn, Karen Shuman, Gary Peric, and Bill Cleavenger. “I’d like to thank our taskforce members who worked diligently and put in numerous hours of work,” said Munroe. “Their enthusiasm for the project and their hard work are evidence that Culver’s ‘human capital’ is its finest asset. We also want to thank past CRC members and citizens who worked on broadband options for Culver, including Tom Yuhas, Paul De Benedictis, Sally Ricciardi, Russ Mason, and Rich West.”

The Town expects to get under contract with Surf Internet in the coming weeks with the goal of burying fiber lines in the coming six to eight months. Citizens and businesses will continue to have access to their current Internet providers as long as those providers are continuing service. This solution provides a new high-speed fiber option. Project updates will be provided to the public once Surf begins construction.