COLUMBUS—State Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) applauded the passage of legislation today by the Ohio House to help expand high-speed internet access to rural areas across the state.


Sponsored by Reps. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), House Bill 378 creates the Ohio Broadband Development Grant Program. The program would invest $100 million over the next two years through the proceeds of bonds supporting Ohio’s Third Frontier Program.


Nearly 300,000 rural households in Ohio do not have access to broadband internet, placing limitations on educational opportunities, economic growth and public safety resources.


“The expansion of high-speed internet access to rural areas of Ohio is imperative if we are to accelerate economic growth in these areas,” said Reineke. “High-speed internet is a required infrastructure component for economic development and I am thrilled the House has passed this bill.”


Under the bill, private businesses, political subdivisions, nonprofit entities and cooperatives may apply for a grant through the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA) and include information detailing the project.


After evaluating the applications, the DSA Director would award grants based on certain criteria to qualified applicants in geographically dispersed regions of the state. Grant amounts cannot exceed 1.) 50 percent of the project’s total cost, or 2.) $5 million, whichever amount is less.


House Bill 378 now awaits further consideration in the Ohio Senate.

 
 
 
  
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