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Ohio Testing SpaceX's Starlink To Expand Rural Internet Service

person working on laptop computer

Ohio is beginning a new pilot project to help expand broadband internet to the estimated 1 million Ohioans who lack it.

Bob Rich of Union County has worked from home for nine years without reliable internet.

“In that time, I’ve had to do things like rent office space in Marysville, which is the nearest town, during the summer and winter breaks so I’m not constantly nagging my children to get off YouTube,” Rich says.

Rich lives in one of the areas targeted by Ohio’s new $200 million pilot program that uses STARlink technology and SpaceX to provide internet via satellite.

Lt. Gov Jon Husted says he hopes the technology will be affordable so that it can expand to homes and businesses statewide.

"We want to see if this works. This is a new strategy. This pilot program will be one of the first in the nation,” Husted says.

Husted says this pilot project will begin in Allen Township, part of Union County, in January 2021. He says it will show whether the technology is reliable enough to expand it into more areas of Ohio where traditional fiber-optic internet is prohibitively expensive.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.