About 227,000 Ohioans will soon get high-speed internet access thanks to state, private-sector money

COLUMBUS, Ohio — State officials announced Friday that an estimated 227,000 Ohioans will get access to affordable, high-speed Internet service within the next two years thanks to dozens of projects paid for with a combined $480 million in state and private-sector money.

The projects are the result of efforts by Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted to extend broadband service to the nearly 1 million Ohio residents estimated to lack no access to it.

On Friday, the Broadband Expansion Authority approved $232 million in state grants to 11 Internet service providers for 33 projects to extend broadband service to more than 43,000 Ohio households in 31 mostly rural counties, according to DeWine. The projects are set to be completed within two years, he said.

In addition, private Internet service providers committed to complete 71 other broadband expansion projects totaling $248 million to extend service to approximately 52,000 households in 31 additional counties, DeWine said. Any of those companies that don’t complete their work within two years will pay the state a fine, Husted said.

Beyond the state and private-sector funding, DeWine said Ohio expects to get an additional $268 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for broadband expansion, and another $100 million in federal funding in May.

“Broadband as we know is really an essential element of living in the modern world — at home, school, work, in our communities, we rely on the Internet every single day. Unfortunately, many areas of Ohio still do not have access to broadband,” said DeWine, a Greene County Republican who fought to include broadband funding in the current state budget. “We must not stop until every Ohioan has access to the Internet system.”

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