State Rep. Jack Cera’s (D-Bellaire) bipartisan bill with Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) to expand high-speed internet access in Ohio’s rural communities received bipartisan support last week from the House Finance Committee. The legislation, House Bill (HB) 378, would better connect people and businesses, driving growth and creating jobs in rural communities across the state.


“I am a vociferous proponent of HB 378. This is a victory for rural development; from the growth of agricultural businesses, to the use telemedicine, we will increase the opportunity for innovation in areas of our state that have been vastly underserved” said Patterson.


HB 378 would appropriate $100 million over the next two years from the proceeds of bonds issued to support Ohio’s Third Frontier Program. Local communities, businesses, nonprofits and co-ops would all be eligible to participate in the grant program, which would be administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency.


“For millennials, connectivity is crucial for competitive job creation. The flexibility to work from any location, particularly from home, is key in attracting and retaining young professionals in eastern Ohio” Patterson added. 

 
 
 
  
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