Broadband Access Ohio Launches as Resource for Internet Expansion Programs

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Several municipalities and policy experts are joining together to champion and support programs designed to increase broadband connectivity for Ohio communities, school networks, nonprofits and other entities.

Broadband Access Ohio officially launched this week with a mission to promote the role communities can play in bringing high-quality internet to underserved areas as more funding from federal and state sources becomes available.

The organization has more than 20 founding members. It is made up of communities across the state that have struggled to attract the attention of private broadband providers; having difficult terrain to build infrastructure; have residents unable to pay the service charge; and have areas with some access but not the internet speeds needed to attract high-tech economic development, according to a press release.

The group will also advocate for the protection of the right to develop public broadband services, after an amendment nearly made it into the recent state budget that would have prohibited municipalities from creating a public broadband system. This amendment was removed from the wording of the final budget.

A statement from the group emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to expanding broadband access across the state.

“No two systems are the same as each has been designed to meet the needs of the relevant community. Networks supporting educational institutions or smart cities have… been formed…and these networks have enabled communities to take control of their future It is these communities and networks that (constitute) Broadband Access Ohio, with the understanding that other communities may face similar challenges and (it is) time to come together to share information, provide education and speak with a collective voice,” the statement read.

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