COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The state has begun accepting grant applications from broadband companies to pay for high-speed internet installation in unserved and underserved areas of Ohio.
A press release from Gov. Mike DeWine’s office states the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant program will provide $250 million in grants to internet service providers for the construction of broadband projects.
“This program is a key investment in Ohio’s future as we work toward eliminating the digital divide in our state,” DeWine said in a press release. “Connecting our rural and underserved areas with reliable internet service will help bring these communities up to speed with the rest of the state and will be a driving force for economic growth.”
The grant program was established by House Bill 2 and is being funded as part of the state’s 2022-2023 operating budget.
Projects approved for the grant program must provide at least 25 Mpbs download and 3 Mbps upload speeds to residents in the area who don’t have a provider who can supply service at those speeds.
According to the press release, approximately 300,000 Ohio households — approximately 1 million people — 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,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said in the press release. “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 interested in applying for the grant can do so from Sept. 6 through Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. on the state’s website. Applications will be reviewed by the Ohio Department of Development and BroadbandOhio, created in March 2020 as the point of contact for all broadband projects in the state.