City commissioners plan to use federal funds to improve internet access in Dayton neighborhoods – WHIO TV 7 and WHIO Radio

DAYTON — The City of Dayton got $138 million from the American Rescue Plan Act and plans to spend $500,000 of that money for a need that officials said has been dividing the community.

News Center 7′s Haley Kosik spoke to commissioners on what will be spent and where.

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Dayton City Commissioners plan to take federal funds and improve access to internet in neighborhoods like the westside of Dayton.

“A little more than 40% of people in the city don’t have access to broadband speed internet, they’re using dial up,” said Matt Joseph, Dayton City Commissioner.

City commissioners plan to determine what specific areas need the most attention.

$236,000 out of that $500,000 in American Rescue Plan funding will pay to have the city’s fiber optic network evaluated.

“We’re having someone come on board to give an inventory and put it together and tell us what we have and maybe even recommendations before we build this out to reach people,” said Joseph.

Commissioners say this will bridge a digital divide that’s long overdue and in return help with economic development to impoverished areas of the city.

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The remainder of that $500,000 will be spent on what the community found to be important.

The feedback favored helping the Access Center for Independent Living’s’ REDI Program, which gives donated medical equipment to those with disabilities free of charge.

Dayton commissioners will also use remaining dollars to help minority-owned small businesses in the city, but commissioner matt joseph says everyone has to have high speed internet first.

The analysis will be complete by next year.

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