YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Capital Projects Fund announced the award of $162.5 million to expand broadband access in Ohio.

The state’s two approved plans include $77.5 million for rural broadband infrastructure, which the state estimates will connect 15,000 homes and businesses; and $85 million for multi-purpose community facilities. The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan through the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The $77.5 million will go toward the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program, designed to fund last-mile broadband infrastructure projects in rural areas currently lacking access to reliable, high-speed internet.

Ohio will invest an additional $85 million of CPF funding in Ohio’s Appalachian Community Innovation Campuses Program. The grant program provides funding to eligible counties within the Appalachian region to construct multi-purpose facilities designed to increase access to education, community health services and workforce development opportunities.

“Every Ohio family and Ohio business should have reliable, high-speed internet. You shouldn’t have to live in a big city or a wealthy suburb to have access to a crucial aspect of modern society and our economy,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown. “It’s why when we wrote the American Rescue Plan, we made sure that it not only included investment in high-speed internet but that the investment would be focused on places like Ohio, where large portions of the state have been left out.”

In June, President Joe Biden also announced more than $40 billion would be distributed across the country to deliver high-speed internet in places where there is either no service or where service is too slow. It was made possible by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.