State Lawmakers are in No Hurry to Bridge Ohio’s Digital Divide

WKSU 89.7
By: M. L. Schultze
June 20, 2018

In many rural areas, broadband service remains limited, cost-prohibitive or unavailable altogether. State lawmakers have proposed two bills to change that.

Key to advanced tech

Stu Johnson, executive director of the technology non-profit Connect Ohio, says both bills are needed. And he says the entire state needs broadband in order to take advantage of more advanced technologies.

“The fact is that all of these things that we look at, whether it’s precision agriculture or autonomous vehicles or sensors or education or workforce development or economic development – those are all end results. All of those require broadband.

“The autonomous vehicles, while the majority of that is done wirelessly, you need high capacity fiber as close to that vehicle as you can get so it’s all part and parcel of the overall goal.”

Johnson says both bills would allow the state to draw down matching funds from the federal government. And he says the larger bill targeted at business would fund a comprehensive broadband plan similar to what more than two dozen other states have and say is paying off in economic development.

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