COLUMBUS – State Representatives Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) and Michael O’Brien (D-Warren), along with co-sponsor Brett Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville), today introduced House Bill 13, legislation creating the Residential Broadband Expansion Program.
“Internet access has obviously become vital to our communities and provides a wide variety of economic, education and social resources,” Rep. Carfagna said. “The goal of House Bill 13 is to find a way to efficiently extend these resources to areas that currently do not have this valuable service. I have been, and will continue, to work with local government officials and various interested parties to ensure this legislation meets that goal and leaves a positive effect on Ohioans, mostly in rural areas, who currently have no broadband access.”
“Too many people and small businesses have been left behind in an economy where having access to high speed internet is essential,” said Rep. O’Brien. With our bipartisan efforts, more people will have the opportunity to be connected and realize greater opportunities, whether that’s streamlining business operations, taking classes, or just being more efficient in the way we communicate.”
This legislation would provide grants to municipalities and townships to help fund projects that provide broadband to residential areas within their boundaries that are without broadband access.
“I am very excited that Speaker Householder and the House leadership view broadband connectivity as importantly as they have shown with this bill,” said Rep. Hillyer. “My district is not unique in Ohio in that many rural pockets of Ohio are unserved by broadband connectivity. Without internet coverage, these communities will never grow and cannot thrive and will fall behind in 21st century America. I am happy to support this bill.”
HB 13 will now be assigned to a committee and will await its first hearing.