State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) voted to support House Bill 13 - one of the Ohio House’s priority pieces of legislation - that will help to expand broadband to the nearly one million Ohioans lacking a reliable internet connection, including 300,000 households having no broadband options. The significant legislation passed in the Ohio House.

The bill creates the state’s first Residential Broadband Expansion Program, which will provide grants to offset construction cost hurdles and help facilitate the expansion of high-speed internet to unserved households around the state.

“Internet access is a pervasive issue that those of Sandusky and Seneca Counties should not have to struggle with in our day and age,” said Reineke. “Over the last three months, we have been taking on a crisis and it’s important that the people of the 88th House District have high-speed Internet for crucial updates and information pertaining to the pandemic.”

Another part of the bill is the informal commitment of $20 million to fund the grant program for the remainder of the state’s budget biennium. This grant program fulfills a key goal under the Ohio Broadband Strategy, a report issued last December by Governor DeWine and the Office of InnovateOhio, led by Lt. Governor Jon Husted, to improve connectivity throughout Ohio.

In addition to the increase in grant funds, the bill also creates an application process to increase the efficiency of the program; a system of weights intended to prioritize projects that will provide service to unserved and distressed areas of the state; and several other regulatory changes which will help to reduce barriers to broadband expansion.

The legislation now heads over to the Senate for further consideration.

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