Ohio broadband grant program opening for applications

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COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Sept. 3 that the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant program would begin accepting applications online beginning Sept. 6.

Funded as part of Ohio’s 2022-2023 operating budget, the program will provide $250 million in grants to internet service providers for the construction of broadband projects that improve high-speed internet access in unserved and underserved areas of Ohio.

Projects will provide service access of at least 25 megabits per second download and 3 megabits per second upload to residents in areas that do not have a provider that can supply service at this speed.

The Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant program, which was established in House Bill 2, sponsored by Rep. Rick Carfagna and Rep. Brian Stewart, is a key part of the DeWine-Husted Administration’s broadband strategy, which aims to build a high-tech broadband network throughout the state.

Based on currently available information, 300,000 households in Ohio, representing approximately a million Ohioans, are estimated to lack access to broadband internet.

“This grant program is designed to help our local private and public sector partners expand high-speed, affordable internet in areas of Ohio that are presently underserved,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “To be a part of the modern economy, education and healthcare systems, you need to have access to reliable internet, and this effort aims to close the digital divide.”

Internet Service Providers can apply online until Nov. 8, at 5 p.m. Applications will be reviewed by the Ohio Department of Development and BroadbandOhio, which was created by the DeWine-Husted Administration in March 2020 to be the point of contact for all broadband projects in Ohio.

Eligible applications will be sent to the Ohio Broadband Expansion Program Authority for approval and funding. More information on the new Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant is available at broadband.ohio.gov.

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