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Ohio Lawmaker Continues Push To Expand Broadband Internet Access

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As state lawmakers started a new session Monday, one lawmaker is vowing to once again introduce a bill to expand access to broadband internet. Lawmakers failed to pass a bill with bipartisan support during the previous session.

The Ohio Houseoverwhelmingly passed HB13, a bill that would have provided grants to expand broadband to unserved areas of the state. State Rep. Rick Carfagna (D-Westerville) says it was getting hearings in the Senate and seemed to be poised for passage.

“It had overwhelming support from both chambers and from the governor’s office. I’m quite frankly dumbfounded," Carfagna says.

HB13 would create a way for broadband providers to tap into $20 million in state grants to subsidize installing service in spots where it doesn't reach. Nearly 1 million Ohio households lack reliable broadband, and 300,000 have no service at all.

Yet the bill was not brought up for a vote, and Carfagna says he doesn’t understand why since no one seemed to oppose it.

Carfagna says he’ll bring the bill back and start all over again with the new legislature that will be seated in January.

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.