Bi-partisan legislation has been introduced in the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives to expand broadband access in unserved areas of the Buckeye State.
Senate Bill 199, introduced by Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay), and companion House Bill 378 introduced by Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Representative Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), seek to create a $50 million per year grant program using existing funding from Ohio Third Frontier bond revenue.
According to a press release issued on Senate Bill 199 last month, the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA) would award grants of up to $5 million to businesses, non-profits, co-ops, and/or political subdivisions to build broadband infrastructure in unserved areas of the state. Grants would be awarded based on applications that best address community needs, including technical support and digital literacy training, with emphasis on vital community anchor institutions.
In addition, $1 million would be available to support broadband data collection, mapping, and local broadband planning efforts to target infrastructure investments.
The full language of the bills is available here:
How You Can Help!
Broadband expansion is important for all Ohioans and right now is an important time for these two bills. To express your support, please find your State Representative and State Senator, and their respective contact information, via the following links:
- Ohio House of Representatives: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/index
- Ohio Senate: http://ohiosenate.gov/index
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