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Grants Would Help Expand Broadband Internet To Ohio's Rural Areas

cable modem

Some 300,000 households and more than 88,000 business in Ohio have no access to broadband internet. Republican and Democratic state lawmakers are working together to find a cheaper way to bring high-speed internet to rural parts of Ohio.

The idea is for the state to make grant money available to pay for the expensive process of laying down the groundwork for broadband internet.

Democratic Senator Joe Schiavoni says high-speed internet can be expensive if the ratepayer also has to cover the cost of the infrastructure, which costs an average of about $26,000 a mile.

“But once you have local governments work with the states, work with the feds and the company in order to get that part done that actual providing of the internet isn’t the problem at all.”

Bills in the House and Senate would create $50 million in grants to businesses, non-profits and local governments to bring internet to 14,000 households. The money would come from Ohio’s Third Frontier Commission.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.