Legislation to help expand high-speed internet access in underserved and rural areas of Ohio is getting bipartisan support and fast-tracked consideration at the Statehouse as the coronavirus pandemic increases pressure to address that digital divide.
A measure to direct $210 million toward increasing broadband access passed the House on Thursday with wide support. It includes $20 million annually for three fiscal years, plus $150 million from the governor’s state budget proposal. The legislation would create a grant program to overcome the cost hurdles that dissuade broadband providers from connecting hard-to-reach homes.
An estimated 300,000 households and 1 million residents across Ohio lack high-speed internet.